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Ministry of Health - By BC Physicians, for BC Physicians


The goal of the Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee (GPAC) is to maintain or improve the quality of medical care, while making optimum use of medical resources. GPAC is mandated to assume a leadership role in developing high-quality, evidence-based guidelines and protocols and to measure its success in achieving this mandate.

GPAC intends its clinical practice guidelines to provide practical and easy-to-follow advice to general practitioners and specialists for effective patient care. The guidelines are based on medical evidence, and are modified for circumstances in British Columbia.

To accomplish these goals, GPAC adheres to three fundamental principles:

  • To encourage appropriate responses to common medical situations;
  • To recommend actions that are sufficient and efficient, neither excessive nor deficient; and
  • To permit exceptions when justified by clinical circumstances.

To carry out its responsibilities, GPAC oversees a number of working groups, each of which researches and develops a particular guideline. While most GPAC and working group members are practising physicians, others may be selected to provide a balance of clinical specialties, academic knowledge and research expertise.

Guidelines are defined as systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances. Protocols are a precise outline for the study of a biomedical problem or for a regimen of therapy.

The following criteria are considered by GPAC in selecting and prioritizing topics for guideline or protocol development:

  • Areas of clinical uncertainty as evidenced by wide variation in practice or outcomes;
  • Conditions where there is good evidence for effective treatment and where mortality or morbidity can be reduced;
  • Procedures and tests that have a high per unit cost and high volume;
  • Priority areas for the achievement of specific health care goals in British Columbia; and
  • Input from physicians and stakeholders based on compelling evidence.

Disclaimer The Clinical Practice Guidelines (the "Guidelines") have been developed by the Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee on behalf of the Medical Services Commission. The Guidelines are intended to give an understanding of a clinical problem and outline one or more preferred approaches to the investigation and management of the problem. The Guidelines are not intended as a substitute for the advice or professional judgment of a health care professional, nor are they intended to be the only approach to the management of clinical problems.  We cannot respond to patients or patient advocates requesting advice on issues related to medical conditions. If you need medical advice, please contact a health care professional.