NICE quality standards

NICE quality standards are a concise set of prioritised statements designed to drive measurable quality improvements within a particular area of health or care.

NICE quality standards are derived from high quality guidance such as that from NICE or other sources accredited by NICE. Quality standards are developed independently by NICE, in collaboration with healthcare professionals and public health and social care practitioners, their partners and service users. Information on priority areas, people's experience of using services, safety issues, equality and cost impact are also considered during the development process.

NICE quality standards are central to supporting the Government's vision for a health and social care system focussed on delivering the best possible outcomes for people who use services, as detailed in the Health and Social Care Act (2012).

NICE quality standards enable:

  • Health professionals and public health and social care practitioners to make decisions about care based on the latest evidence and best practice.
  • People receiving health and social care services, their families and carers and the public to find information about the quality of services and care they should expect from their health and social care provider.
  • Service providers to quickly and easily examine the performance of their organisation and assess improvement in standards of care they provide.
  • Commissioners to be confident that the services they are purchasing are high quality and cost effective and focussed on driving up quality.

View the full list of quality standards in health, social care and public health that have been referred to NICE.

The quality standards forward planner shows the current work schedule.

Frequently asked questions about NICE quality standards.

Integrated quality standards for health, public health and social care

Quality standards consider the complete care pathway, from public health to health and social care. Although some standards will be area specific, there will often be significant overlap across areas and these will be considered during development of the standard. Where appropriate, complementary referrals will be combined and developed as a fully integrated quality standard

Quality standards for health

Quality standards for health focus on the treatment and prevention of different diseases and conditions.

Quality standards will be reflected in the new Clinical Commissioning Group Outcome Indicator Set (CCGOIS) and will inform payment mechanisms and incentive schemes such as the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) Payment Framework.

NICE and NHS England have developed a mapping document to show how NICE quality standards can support quality improvement in relation to the NHS Outcomes Framework (NHS OF). It also recognises the role of measurement in this process and highlights links with the CCG OIS. Mapping the NHS Outcomes Framework and Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set to NICE Quality Standards.

The Department of Health and other key partners worked with NICE to develop a list of topics for quality standard development in health-related topics which was referred to NICE in March 2012. Future health-related topics will be referred to NICE by NHS England.

Quality standards for social care

Quality standards for social care focus on the services and interventions to support the social care needs of service users. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 set out a new responsibility for NICE to develop guidance and associated quality standards for social care in England.

More information on quality standards for social care.

Quality standards for public health

Following the new public health responsibilities for local authorities, which came into effect in April 2013, NICE has been referred an initial programme of quality standards for public health. NICE will develop new quality standards on reducing tobacco use in the community, preventing harmful alcohol use, and strategies to prevent obesity in adults and children. These new topics complement other public health topics already referred to NICE by ministers with a healthcare focus: smoking cessation: supporting people to stop smoking; and physical activity: encouraging activity in all people in contact with the NHS.

Public health quality standards will support Public Health England, local authorities and the wider public health community. The first public health quality standard on smoking cessation was published in August 2013. This will be followed by a consultation on further topics for the longer term work programme. Beyond this, topics will be referred by the Department of Health.

Consultation on future public health topics

In order to develop the longer term public health quality standards work programme, NICE wants to hear from stakeholders to help decide on which topics should be referred to NICE. A consultation will therefore be held on the proposed list of topics from the 27 September until the 20 December.

More information on the consultation.

Published quality standards

Results 1-20 of 61

Ref Title Date Issued Review
QS38 Acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (QS38) Jul 2013 Jul 2018
QS11 Alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use (QS11) Aug 2011 Aug 2016
QS22 Antenatal care (QS22) Sep 2012 Sep 2017
QS59 Antisocial behaviour and conduct disorders in children and young people (QS59) Apr 2014 Apr 2019
QS53 Anxiety disorders (QS53) Feb 2014 Feb 2019
QS25 Asthma (QS25) Feb 2013 Feb 2018
QS44 Atopic eczema in children (QS44) Sep 2013 Sep 2018
QS39 Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (QS39) Jul 2013 Jul 2018
QS51 Autism (QS51) Jan 2014 Jan 2019
QS19 Bacterial meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia in children and young people (QS19) Jun 2012 Jun 2017
QS12 Breast cancer (QS12) Sep 2011 Sep 2016
QS32 Caesarean section (QS32) Jun 2013 Jun 2018
QS55 Children and young people with cancer (QS55) Feb 2014 Feb 2018
QS9 Chronic heart failure (QS9) Jun 2011 Jun 2016
QS5 Chronic kidney disease (QS5) Mar 2011 Mar 2016
QS10 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (QS10) Jul 2011 Jul 2016
QS20 Colorectal cancer (QS20) Aug 2012 Aug 2017
QS1 Dementia (QS1) Jun 2010 Jun 2015
QS8 Depression in adults (QS8) Mar 2011 Mar 2016
QS48 Depression in children and young people (QS48) Sep 2013 Sep 2018

Quality standards in development

View NICE quality standards currently in development.

This page was last updated: 17 April 2014

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Selected, reliable information for health and social care in one place

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.