Are musculoskeletal practitioners missing a trick? The underutilised value of NICE’s clinical knowledge summaries

Guidelines are an important tool to drive up quality of healthcare provision and reduce unwarranted clinical variation in practice

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) strive to develop national guidance on multiple aspects of healthcare in England.

NICE guidance is nationally (and internationally) recognised as a credible resource for clinicians, managers, policy makers and patients.  

However, NICE recognise that it is not possible to develop and update NICE guidelines for all health conditions.  

In response to providing a more comprehensive level of guidance to a wider range of conditions, NICE has developed clinical knowledge summaries (CKS).

What are clinical knowledge summaries (CKS)? 

If you want to find out what a CKS is and how they differ from NICE guidelines and how useful they are to MSK practitioners then join us for an online seminar taking place on Zoom on Wednesday 12 May at 1pm and 8pm.

In just 40 minutes we’ll look at what MSK CKS are, how they are developed, how they differ from NICE guidance, and most importantly why you should use them.

There will be a practical demonstration and time to ask questions.

The seminars will be run by Emma Salt, consultant MSK physiotherapist, and Fran Wilkie and Ian Saunders, two members of staff from NICE and who are expert in all things CKS. 

Numbers are limited, so don’t miss out - book a place today.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In a recent survey, musculoskeletal practitioners (n=226) ranked clinical guidelines to be the most important factor in informing their practice compared to blogs/podcasts/social media, research papers, supervisory support, clinical courses, conferences and personal experience.

The MSKReform manifesto subsequently identified there was a need to have improved NICE guidance around musculoskeletal conditions and named the CKS as being a potential solution to address this.  In a small poll soon after, few practitioners reported to regularly use CKS (22 per cent of 116 respondents), and a significant proportion (31 per cent) had never heard of them. 


There are 37 CKS musculoskeletal topics which are regularly updated every five years, or sooner if significant and important research emerges.  Dates are changed on the evidence if there has been a change in the evidence base. It is important to recognise that the CKS are valuable resources that are currently underused.

Gerry Morrow, the CKS editor invites expert musculoskeletal practitioners, to contribute to updating existing musculoskeletal CKS or to develop new topics.  If you are interested, contact Dr Morrow directly

If you are interested to learn more about the CKS, how they have been developed and how they can be used, contact Emma Salt, NICE fellow on

Dr Salt is happy to come and talk to groups/teams. 

Number of subscribers: 2

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added