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NICE to produce new series of briefings for local government on value-for-money public health actions

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is pleased to announce that it has been given responsibility for producing a new suite of public health advice for local government. With local government taking on a wider remit for public health in communities from April 2013, NICE will aim to make it easier for Directors of Public Health, elected members and senior officers in local authorities to find out which public health actions are most effective whilst also providing the best value for money.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE said: “We are delighted to be producing a new range of public health advice, specifically to help and support local government in its expanded role in improving the health of communities. This new area of work is in addition to our ongoing programme producing public health guidance.

“The new NICE ‘Local Government Public Health Briefings' documents will provide tailored practical advice for local councillors, Directors of Public Health and other local government staff which they can adapt to local circumstances to help them meet their new public health responsibilities. The Briefings will distil the recommendations from existing NICE public health and clinical guidance on a range of essential topics such as tackling tobacco and obesity, increasing physical activity, and topics on alcohol and health, and workplace health. The resulting summaries will help raise awareness of those public health activities and approaches which are proven to be effective, and how they can not only improve the health of local people, but also often save money.

“We will be appointing a new committee to guide the development of the briefings, and we warmly welcome applications to join the committee from community members, professionals and local councillors with an interest in health and wellbeing, local community leaders and voluntary groups.”

Today's announcement comes as the Journal of Public Health publishes a paper1 written by experts at NICE highlighting the evidence that public health interventions are excellent value for money. This paper is the first comprehensive list of cost-effectiveness estimates for public health interventions in England.

Professor Kelly, joint author of the paper, commented: “Given the current economic climate it's more important than ever to make best use of limited resources. This research not only proves unequivocally that prevention is better than cure, but just how highly cost-effective the public health interventions recommended by NICE really are. In a number of cases, putting public health activities into practice was more effective and saved money compared to the existing interventions. A huge 85% of public health interventions were cost-effective at a threshold of £20,000 per quality-adjusted life year - this is considerably less than the extra cost per unit of health gained that the NHS often pays for clinical interventions, such as drug treatments.

“With this clear indication of the value of public health action, and its potential to save resources whilst improving health, we look forward to extending our portfolio of public health products to provide more support to the local government sector.”

About the new Local Government Public Health Briefings

The first Briefings are expected to be published in July 2012.

About NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health

NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  • public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
  • health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
  • clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS

NICE produces standards for patient care:

  • quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients

NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.

1. Owen, L., Morgan, A., Fischer, A., Ellis, S., Hoy, A., Kelly, M.P. (2011) The cost effectiveness of public health interventions, Journal of Public Health; doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdr075

This page was last updated: 19 April 2012

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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.