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NICE to retain powers

As part of changes announced to the UK government's Health and Social Care Bill, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence is to retain its responsibility to recommend drugs and treatments for use on the NHS

As part of changes announced to the UK government's Health and Social Care Bill following recommendations from the Future Forum group of healthcare experts, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to retain its responsibility to recommend drugs and treatments for use on the NHS.

In its list of core changes (pdf), the UK's Department of Health (DH) confirmed patients will have "the right to drugs and treatments recommended by NICE, which we will retain after the introduction of value-based pricing for new drugs from January 2014."

Original suggestions outlined in the Bill regarding NICE's role proposed that the agency would only appraise new products rather than make recommendations for their use.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: "We are pleased to see that NICE will continue to play a key role in helping to ensure that patients receive the best possible care on the NHS."

"We look forward to engaging with clinical commissioning groups and to supporting their work through the use of our guidelines, quality standards and commissioning guides."

As reported in the Financial Times (FT), NICE chairman, Sir Michael Rawlins said the changes to the Bill would be welcomed by GPs, with doctors wary of damaging patient relationships if they were the ones to make a decision about whether a drug is cost-effective or not.

"They wanted a 'blame quango' to be responsible – ie. NICE," said Rawlins, according to the FT.

20th June 2011

From: Healthcare

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