The initiative for the development of national treatment guidelines, dates back to the '90s. In Greece, however, National Clinical Guidelines for the management of schizophrenia were first formulated in 2014 when a Working Group was set up for this purpose by the Greek Ministry of Health. The objective of this Working Group was to provide evidence-based recommendations covering the pharmacological and psychosocial treatment of schizophrenia as well as the development of appropriate treatment services. The Working Group utilized the NICE Guideline (National Institute of Clinical Excellence, 2010, 2014) for the management of Psychosis & Schizophrenia as the main guide to develop the Greek National Guidelines , and in addition the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Schizophrenia (APA 2004), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia and related disorders (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2005) , as well as other relevant sources. The Working Group also took into consideration the available Greek bibliography as well as the external evaluations of the Greek psychiatric reform programs. A special effort was made to adapt the international experience to the current Greek landscape with the constraints resulting from the uneven dispersion of mental health services, the lack of coordination between services, the incomplete sectorization of mental health services provided as part of the National Health System, the still underdeveloped Primary Care Health Service, and last but not least the difficult economic situation in Greece. After the preparation of the draft guidelines, a thorough consultation followed with the relevant stakeholders, including mental health professionals, user associations and representatives of the Greek Ombudsman. Additionally, the Hellenic Psychiatric Association established an Expert Committee in Spring 2016, that contributed with its observations to the final exercise. This article will be followed by two further publications (incorporating the Hellenic Psychiatric Association comments) which include: (1) the summary recommendations regarding the pharmacological, psychological and psychosocial interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia, and (2) the summary recommendations regarding: (a) the role of primary health care service and the role of the family physician in the treatment of schizophrenia (b) the summary recommendations regarding continuity of care and c) the summary recommendations regarding community interventions with documented effectiveness in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Key words: Guidelines, clinical guidelines, schizophrenia.
M. Margariti, M. Hadjulis, M. Lazaridou, G.F. Angelidis,V. Fotopoulos, L. Markaki, F. Koulouri (page 301)