The Government first set out its overall agenda for improving the quality of healthcare in the NHS in England and Wales in two White Papers “The new NHS modern and dependable”, and “NHS Wales: Putting Patient’s First”.

More detail then emerged in “A first class service:quality in the new NHS”. This said ‘ the objective is to ensure fair access to effective, prompt, high quality care wherever a patient is treated in the NHS’ and that ‘we propose a new model which marries clinical judgement with clear national standards’. The model set out how this would be done by NICE.