NICE starts new wave of quality standards

NICE has been given 123 new quality standards to work on, and includes for the first time new standards for public health.

Published on 22/03/12 at 02:18pm

The latest set of quality standards cover a wide range of topics, including heart failure, irritable bowel syndrome, skin cancer, and obesity in adults.

NICE will also develop public health quality standards in areas that relate to the NHS, the first time it has ever been asked to do this.

The public health topics cover standards for smoking cessation, encouraging physical activity in all people in contact with the NHS, and for preventing and managing alcohol misuse.

This is in line with a recommendation by the NHS Future Forum last year, that wanted NICE to develop quality standards setting out the evidence based action that the NHS can take in relation to the main lifestyle risk factors.

The watchdog’s quality standards outline the vision of what high quality care should look like on the NHS, and will form the basis of commissioning decisions taken by the NHS Commissioning Board.

The NHS Board will be the new commissioning centre for the health service, and will take charge of the new GP-led clinical commissioning groups.

It will take full commissioning responsibility from April next year under the government’s reform of the NHS. To date, there are 15 published quality standards and a further 20 in development.

This latest referral from the Department of Health will see NICE produce its first quality standards for blood disorders, hearing loss, skin conditions including psoriasis, and a number of service delivery standards such as out-of-hours care and trauma services.

Other quality standard topics include pneumonia, multiple sclerosis, contraceptive services and premature birth.

Dr Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “We are delighted to have been referred this very comprehensive list of quality standards for development.

“The breadth of topics being referred to us, together with the quality standards we have already published and those we are currently developing, will allow us to integrate our recommendations for the health, social care and public health sectors and define what best quality care looks like across the board.

“Perhaps more importantly, they will also give individual patients, carers, service users and the public the opportunity to see what care they should expect from their providers.”

Ben Adams

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