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Ten minutes with Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of Centre for Guidelines, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
  1. Michael Toolan,
  2. Roshni Maisuria
  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Toolan, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, London E20 1JQ, UK; mtoolan{at}

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Paul is currently the Director of Centre for Guidelines at NICE and an Executive Director on the NICE board. Paul has been with NICE since 2009, where he was responsible for setting up the Institute’s accreditation programme for guideline developers, and more recently was Programme Director of the Medicines and Technologies Programme.

Before joining NICE, Paul spent over 20 years in international medical publishing and communications in editorial and senior management roles. A thread throughout his career has been evidence-based medicine, how this can be communicated and implemented to make the biggest difference to best effect, with a focus on system leadership, adaptive challenges and the importance of collaborative relationships across organisational boundaries.

First and foremost, are there any key leadership messages you want to get out to our readership?

Reflecting on the current situation, four things have come to the fore for me: people, process, priorities and purpose. COVID-19 has tested our resilience in all these areas. The key messages for me I would say are: be clear on purpose; give people space and room to work; and make sure they are supported and empowered. As a leader I feel you need to remove obstacles and be clear on priorities. If your processes are good enough then you should be able to deliver.

Tell us a little about your leadership role and how it is changing as a result of the pandemic?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) reputation is based on its processes and methods, which underpin trust in the brand. For me, prior to COVID-19, my focus was on delivering a robust guidelines programme and meeting user expectations. I would describe myself as leading a well-oiled machine and my leadership style as collaborative and favouring a distributed model.

In March 2020, we had a request from NHS England to produce three COVID-19 guidelines in 10 days. We had never done anything like that before; the guideline process usually takes 18–24 months. Accepting the challenge, we looked how we could adapt …

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  • Author note Date of Interview: 2 November 2020.

  • Contributors RM and MT contributed equally to the preparing, interview and writing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.