NHMRC develops and supports high quality guidelines for clinical practice, public health, environmental health and ethics.

NHMRC has a long history of developing guidelines related to health, and of supporting others to do so.

NHMRC guidelines are intended to promote health, prevent harm, encourage best practice and reduce waste. They are developed by multidisciplinary committees or panels that follow a rigorous evidence-based approach. NHMRC guidelines are based on a review of the available evidence, and follow transparent development and decision making processes. They are informed by the judgement of evidence by experts, and the views of consumers, community groups and other people affected by the guidelines. In regard to ethical issues, NHMRC guidelines reflect the community's range of attitudes and concerns.

There are robust processes in place to manage conflict of interest and to use the best available scientific methods for making recommendations such as the use of GRADE (an internationally recognised approach to rate the certainty of evidence and the strength of recommendations).

Before NHMRC guidelines are issued they are released for a period of public consultation to allow the Australian public to comment.

To support the development of the highest quality guidelines, NHMRC also provides:

NHMRC issued guidelines

The National Health and Medical Research Council Act (1992) enables NHMRC to issue evidence-based guidelines in areas relating to human health:

  • environmental health – for example guidelines on Australian drinking and recreational water quality  
  • health and research ethics – for example guidelines on the wellbeing of animals used in Australian research
  • clinical practice – for example guidelines for best clinical care of people with borderline personality disorder
  • public health – for example guidelines on nutrition and healthy eating. For more information, see the infographics that outline the process for developing public health guidelines.

NHMRC approved guidelines

The NHMRC Chief Executive Officer has the power to approve guidelines developed by an external body. These are known as NHMRC approved guidelines.

To be approved a guideline must meet the NHMRC guideline standard and follow the Procedures and requirements for meeting the NHMRC standard for guidelines.

NHMRC approval indicates to users that a guideline is of high quality, is based on the best available scientific evidence, and has been developed to rigorous standards. They are recognised in Australia and internationally as representing current knowledge and best health practice.

Guidelines are eligible for approval if they are developed for use throughout Australia by a recognised health organisation such as a college, peak body, professional society, special interest group or government. NHMRC will not approve guidelines developed, published or funded by industry groups, or by organisations whose main source of funding is derived from industry groups.

For more information about the approval program contact clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au. 

Guidelines developers seeking NHMRC approval are advised to use GRADE and training is available through the Melbourne GRADE Centre and the Adelaide GRADE Centre.

Rescinded guidelines

Guidelines issued by NHMRC have a limited life. They are regularly reviewed and will be updated or withdrawn in light of important new evidence that may emerge.

Rescinded guidelines can be found on the Australian Government web archive.