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NICE annual report 2008-09

Chairman's and Chief Executive's foreword

Over the past 10 years we have published 583 individual pieces of NICE guidance; we have earned a national and international reputation for the quality of our work; and we have made a real difference to the lives of millions of people.

In this past year we have published 19 clinical guidelines, 30 technology appraisals, advice on the use of 39 interventional procedures and 7 pieces of public heath guidance. The latter included recommendations about promoting physical activity, and finding ways to decrease mortality in disadvantaged areas.

But publishing NICE guidance is not enough. we also need to help professionals put our guidance into practice. Our field team of implementation consultants engages with people working in the NHS, local government and the wider community. And we have published 25 commissioning guides to help the NHS in England commission effective, evidence-based care.

The year also held some challenges. Our processes and recommendations were closely scrutinised in the High Court when our clinical guideline on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and our technology appraisal of drugs for osteoporosis were both subject to judicial review. In each case our guidance was upheld. The judgement on the CFS/ME guideline fully endorsed the rigorous way we develop our clinical guidelines. For the appraisal, in response to the Court's request, we reached agreement on partial release of previously confidential information held by a third party.

Our processes are robust because we've spent 10 years developing them. This year alone, we've sought the opinions of our stakeholders and the public on updated process and methods guides to all of our guidance programmes.

As well as periodic reviews of our processes and methods, we also listen and respond to the needs of people who use and support the NHS. In January, for example, we changed the way we appraise medicines that extend the lives of people with certain less common conditions who are near the end of life. we know that people value any extra time at the end of their life, so we have asked our independent advisory bodies to take this into account when making decisions about these life-extending treatments.

Health service funding is limited, and it is our job to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive interventions to make sure that NHS money is well spent. In these difficult economic times, the need to ensure value for money is even more important. For example, our clinical guideline on respiratory tract infections is estimated to save the NHS over £3.5 million a year. Antibiotics have been widely over-prescribed for many years, leading to resistance and wasted NHS resources. This guideline helps healthcare professionals decide when antibiotics are appropriate.

As a result of Lord Darzi's NHS Next Stage Review, our remit is growing. we are taking on new responsibilities for setting clinical and public health quality standards to help health and social care professionals achieve the best outcomes for patients for the best value for money. And NICE will break new ground with NHS Evidence, a web portal that delivers evidence to decision-makers and the wide healthcare community.

Such a strong endorsement by Lord Darzi reflects the confidence and trust we have worked hard to build. As we grow and develop, we continue to be grateful for the commitment and hard work of our staff, as well as the experts working on our advisory bodies, and the consultees and stakeholders who support them. It is thanks to all of them that we have achieved so much in this and previous years.

But we are only as good as our last piece of NICE guidance. we need the continuing help and support of all our friends and colleagues; and we are fully confident that they will respond in the future as they have in the past.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins Chairman
Andrew Dillon CBE Chief Executive

This page was last updated: 17 August 2009

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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.