NICE's role is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services. We do this by:
- Producing evidence based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners.
- Developing quality standards and performance metrics for those providing and commissioning health, public health and social care services.
- Providing a range of informational services for commissioners, practitioners and managers across the spectrum of health and social care.
Evidence-based guidance and advice
Since 1999, we have provided the NHS, and those who rely on it for their care, with an increasing range of advice on effective, good value healthcare, and have gained a reputation for rigour, independence and objectivity. In April 2013 we gained new responsibilities for providing guidance for those working in social care.
Our guidance can be used by the NHS, local authorities, employers, voluntary groups and anyone else involved in delivering care or promoting wellbeing.
Our guidance takes several forms:
NICE guidelines make evidence-based recommendations on a wide range of topics, from preventing and managing specific conditions, improving health and managing medicines in different settings, to providing social care to adults and children, and planning broader services and interventions to improve the health of communities. These aim to promote integrated care where appropriate, for example, by covering transitions between children’s and adult services and between health and social care.
Technology appraisals assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of health technologies, such as new pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products, but also include procedures, devices and diagnostic agents. This is to ensure that all NHS patients have equitable access to the most clinically - and cost-effective treatments that are viable.
Interventional procedures guidance recommends whether interventional procedures, such as laser treatments for eye problems or deep brain stimulation for chronic pain are effective and safe enough for use in the NHS.
Quality standards and other performance metrics
Quality Standards are concise sets of statements, with accompanying metrics, designed to drive and measure priority quality improvements within a particular area of care. These are derived from the best available evidence, particularly NICE's own guidance and, where this does not exist, from other evidence sources accredited by NICE.
Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF). NICE undertakes the development of an annual menu of potential indicators for inclusion in the clinical component of the QOF, the quality element of the contract the NHS has with General Practitioners. We also recommend whether existing indicators should continue or be retired.
Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCGOIS). Working with the NHS Commissioning Board, as well as with professional and patient groups, we have developed a framework for measuring health outcomes and the quality of care (including patient reported outcomes and patient experience) achieved by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
We commission and provide access to a range of information services to ensure that health and social care professionals have quick and easy access to reliable information. This includes:
NICE Evidence an online search engine that identifies relevant clinical, public health and social care guidance. As part of the service, NICE also provides access to information content purchased on behalf of the NHS. This includes access to a range of bibliographic databases such as MEDLINE and professional journals.
British National Formulary (BNF) and British National Formulary for Children (BNFC), published jointly by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Medical Association. For a number of years, NICE has been responsible for providing NHS access to these publications, including recently through the use of smartphone apps.
Medicines and prescribing support: information and new pharmaceutical products and information about the use of particular products outside the scope of their licensed indications. This includes Medicines practice guidelines to support best practice in medicines management, including practical advice on developing and maintaining local medicines formularies.
Fellows and Scholars
Our Fellows and Scholars programme aims to foster a network of health and social care professionals committed to improving the quality of patient care within their local health and professional communities, as well as supporting the core values that underpin NICE's work.
NICE International is helping to raise standards of healthcare around the world by providing advice and support to encourage the use of clinically and cost effective treatments. NICE International - which operates on a strict not-for-profit, fee-for-service basis - also carries out important research activities such as generating case studies, preparing tools to help data analysis and encouraging shared learning through international meetings.