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NICE to set quality standards

NICE is to set quality standards in four clinical areas for the NHS, following the recommendation of the Darzi report, High Quality Care For All

The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to set quality standards in four clinical areas for the NHS, following the recommendation of the Darzi report, High Quality Care For All (June 2008).

The report said NICE should set and approve more independent quality standards for the NHS and stated that standards should clarify what high quality meant in terms of clinical effectiveness, patient safety and the patient experience.

This work is key to making quality the organising principle of the NHS and supporting the drive to improve standards of care.

NICE quality standards are specific, concise statements, which mark high-quality, cost-effective care across a pathway or a clinical area. They are to be produced in collaboration with the NHS and social care, along with their partners and service users, for use by clinicians, patients, service providers and commissioners.

The statements in each quality standard will be measurable, to enable an assessment of quality and improvements to be made.

The National Quality Board has referred the clinical areas of stroke; dementia; neonatal care and venous thromboembolism (VTE) for NICE quality standards.

Topic Expert Groups (TEGs), comprising relevant experts and lay representatives, will formalise draft NICE quality standards and consider the cost to the NHS before a consultation phase and field testing the statements prior to final publication. 

NICE has established a pilot process to develop its first quality standards and plans to consult on its development later this summer. The first standards should be published in early 2010.

Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, said: "The quality standards that are being developed by NICE will give patients and NHS and social care staff absolute clarity on what high quality care in these four areas looks like. They will set the course for the development of a library of quality standards."

29th July 2009

From: Healthcare

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