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Surgeon’s ‘Magna Carta’ puts hard evidence at heart of decision-making

7 November 2017

Declaration on Evidence

Heads of UK professional bodies for medicine, teaching and policing have signed and published an evidence ‘Magna Carta’ – putting evidence at the heart of their institutions.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Chartered College of Teaching, and the College of Policing have published the declaration with the aim of embedding its key principles within their organisations.

The signing was hosted by the Alliance for Useful Evidence and Cardiff University Professor Jonathan Shepherd CBE, of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Created by Professor Shepherd and agreed by the Colleges, the charter reads as follows:

"Evidence of what works and what doesn’t has become, through formal trial and error across all professions and public services, a foundation of professional practice. Equally, many untested interventions can do more harm than good and are wasteful of public and private resource.

Therefore, Medical Royal Colleges, the College of Policing and the Chartered College of Teaching as leaders of our professions, declare that our institutions expect all members to take full account of evidence and evidence-informed guidance in their daily decisions and advice to individuals and organisations.

Further, because potential new policies and interventions need to be tested for effectiveness and cost benefit, we also declare that our institutions expect and will support rigorous evaluation. To these ends we undertake to ensure that these principles are reflected as appropriate in our respective values, constitutions or conditions of membership".

Professor Jonathan Shepherd added: “Professional bodies are major influences on the daily practice of hundreds of thousands of professionals across the UK who are their members and fellows..."

"Through their conditions of membership, training and continuous professional development provision, and policy making, these institutions drive evidence adoption. This evidence declaration signals commitment to building these standards on the foundations of quality assured evidence."

Professor Jonathan Shepherd Professor Emeritus in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Chaired by Lord O'Donnell, principal speakers at the signing were Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching; Professor Carrie MacEwen, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; and Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, College of Policing Board.

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