Systematic Literature Reviewer and Guideline Development Manager

London, UK
26 Sep 2019
25 Oct 2019
Contract Type
Full Time
Have you been a systematic reviewer and developer of clinical guidelines for a while and are you seeking a new challenge? Would you like to extend your experience of guideline development into a wider remit? Have you considered joining a small team where you can be sure of a big effect?

If you are a confident self-starter who thrives on process, detail and problem-solving, with enough background experience to fly confidently into a niche of your own, we have an exciting opportunity for you.

We have been creating specialist rheumatology clinical guidelines for many years and are re-configuring our guideline (GL) function as a service to our clinician volunteers. We will do this by taking conduct of our GL processes 'in house', releasing our members and stakeholders to concentrate on providing their clinical knowledge and expert health input to the GL development process. The post holder's primary role will be to apply their specialist skills to delivering the systematic reviews and evidence extraction of our NICE accredited rheumatology GL development process but also to run the oversight Committee processes, improve record keeping and management of interests and offer expert methods assistance in GL development. We will be adopting the GRADE system of GL development, so you must be proficient in that.

The post

Reporting to the Clinical Projects Advisor, the post holder will work collaboratively with them to develop and deliver those aspects of GL work that do not require clinician expertise. The post holder's core must-have skills will be conduct of systematic reviews, evidence extraction, data presentation and timetabling, with interests in project management and planning.

You'll need excellent planning and communication skills to support the work of all Guideline Working Groups. There are no line management responsibilities at present, but this could change. The effects of this post are likely to be transformative.

This post will sit within the Clinical Affairs Directorate. We are a small team and, in order to fulfil the demands of this role, the post holder will also be expected to contribute to the wider activities of the Clinical Affairs Directorate and the organisation as a whole.

British Society for Rheumatology (BSR)

We are the UK-wide membership organisation for health professionals in rheumatology. We work to promote excellence in the care of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders and to support those delivering it at every step. We ensure that physicians and clinicians are educated and trained to provide high quality care. Our members represent the entire profession - from those at the beginning of their career to the most senior consultants, researchers, academics and health professionals in the multi-disciplinary team. Together, they form a powerful voice for paediatric, adolescent and adult rheumatology in the UK.

We are a NICE-accredited guidelines provider and have guidelines in existence or in development across a range of topics in rheumatology, covering all patient groups from child to adult. We produce robust clinical guidance for healthcare decisions in rheumatology and are responsive to the needs of our members and other stakeholders in the specialty.

Main purpose of the job

This is a new role, which expands the guidelines function to a team of two. This post will sit within the Clinical Affairs Directorate and report to the Clinical Projects Advisor.

We are re-orientating our guideline (GL) function and increasing the support that we provide to our clinician volunteers by taking conduct of systematic reviews, evidence extraction, timetabling and planning of our current guideline development process 'in house' via this post. The post holder will conduct the systematic reviews and data extraction and, alongside the Clinical Projects Advisor, develop those aspects of GL work that do not require clinician expertise.

This is an exciting opportunity for the right candidate to extend their previous experience of guideline development by addition of a wider managing remit, assisting in the updating and improvement of our current GL development process. It is an excellent opportunity for a postholder to make their own mark.

The Clinical Projects Advisor (CPA) leads on GL development under the guidance of BSR's Standards, Audit and Guidelines Working Group (SAGWG). The postholder will apply their specialist skills in delivering the systematic review and evidence extraction of our GL development process. They will need excellent planning skills to support the work of all Guideline Working Groups (GWGs). There are no line management responsibilities at present, but this may change as we keep the development of the GL function under review.

We are a small team. In order to fulfil the demands of this role, the post holder will also be expected to contribute to the wider activities of the Clinical Affairs Directorate and the organisation as a whole.

Key Duties

  • Creating and delivering high-quality systematic reviews via GRADE GL development methodology in support of our Guideline Working Groups (GWG). This will include contributing to search strategy development, search terms, screening of studies for eligibility, maintaining databases, identifying papers, supporting the development of data extraction proforma and extraction and collation of data, with excellent record keeping.
  • Drafting appropriate sections of the guideline and supplementary information if required
  • Ensuring methodological rigour of guideline development and adherence to the NICE accreditation criteria
  • Documenting all review processes and maintaining clear audit trails.

Organisation and process
  • Alongside the Clinical Projects Advisor, revising and implementing processes for new guideline proposals
  • Supporting the GWGs' meetings and teleconferences by sharing SLR and evidence appraisals on time and taking meeting notes, making reports, maintaining records of action points and decisions, drafting guidance as required.
  • Building and maintaining good working relationships with GWG leads and GWG members through transparent, clear and friendly communication.
  • Collecting and assessing Declarations of Interest of individual GWG members, following the Interests Policy and maintaining a Register of Interests, updated annually or when new interests are acquired

Planning and timetabling
  • Ensuring timely delivery of the whole programme workflow, starting revisions on time and delivering according to timetable, as well as slotting in new guidelines in a planned way.
  • Prioritising communication with members, with accurate dates for revisions and publication and clear accounts of progress.

Communication, dissemination, implementation and impact
  • Assisting the Clinical Projects Advisor as needed in making reports, posters and/or PowerPoint presentations to present at stakeholder and dissemination events and use in publicity, and creating or assisting in creating infographics or podcasts with partners e.g. Rheumatology Journal, as appropriate.
  • Contributing expertise, as required, to the development of draft recommendations and the final GL and any other posters, papers as required.
  • Liaising with the Journal team in the identification of peer reviewers prior to submission and all final publication processes
  • Attending BSR Annual Conference and any other GL relevant events: contributing to smooth running of any GL sessions and attending presentations of guideline projects.
  • Opportunities for publications of reviewers' own papers will also be supported, where there is sufficient literature in a review.

Patient and Public Involvement:
  • Assisting the Clinical Project Advisor in creating and implementing appropriate support to our Patient and Public Involvement volunteers who serve on each GL group, ensuring that we properly select and support 'patient representative' group members, in line with best practice in managing patient volunteers.
  • Supporting the Clinical Projects Advisor in developing a feasibility plan by identifying demand and possible subsequent proposals for creating Lay Summaries of GLs, identifying partners to aid dissemination, communications strategy and costs.

  • Supporting other literature searching needs across the wider organisational team if required.


Internal: Clinical Affairs Directorate, SAGWG, Rheumatology journal, Marketing and Comms teams, Finance Team.

External: Clinicians, external experts and peer reviewers, representatives other specialties and potential users of our GLs and audit tools.




First degree in related field e.g. medical sciences, biology, statistics + ideally, a relevant higher degree or equivalent qualification.

  • Good grasp of medical terminology
  • Substantial relevant experience in systematic reviews of healthcare literature, analysing quantitative data and critical appraisal of healthcare literature. This means experience in performing medical/scientific literature searches in e.g. PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL
  • Experience and training in GRADE and SLR methodology.
  • Able to show publication of at least one SLR or GL, with responsibilities in data extraction and assimilation.
  • Proficient IT skills, including MS Office suite plus EndNote, RevMan, and GRADEPro, telecons, and comms IT generally.
  • Excellent project management skills - time management, planning.
  • Strong interpersonal, negotiation, oral and written communication skills - this role though technical and screen based also requires people skills. Key contacts will be senior and junior clinicians, staff from varied backgrounds, patients, professional members and non-members. There will be a great deal of liaison.

  • Keenly interested in developing a new service and proactive in acquiring expertise/knowledge in rheumatology through background reading and being flexible and creative.
  • Excellent eye for detail; always works systematically with good record keeping.
  • Experience of previous line management or willingness to learn if required.
  • Ability to apply professional expertise confidently and exercise independent judgement
  • Ability to problem solve and/or delegate appropriate tasks.
  • Able to collaborate effectively and meet deadlines.
  • Empathy and understanding for a) patient contacts, who may have pain and fatigue as a result of their condition and b) professional contacts as GWG members have NHS workloads and divided attention.
  • Able to stay overnight away from home in the UK on occasions.

  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Interest in health communications generally
  • Has worked in a membership organisation previously

Interviews will be on: Monday 4 November 2019 (pm)

There is no flexibility on dates due to the restricted availability of the Interview Panel.

Inclusion & diversity statement

BSR is committed to encouraging inclusion, equality and diversity among our workforce, and eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation by complying with the Equality Act 2010. We want a working environment free of all of the above, where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued. To do this, we will proactively tackle discrimination and disadvantage and ensure that no individual or group is directly or indirectly discriminated against for any reason.

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