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Behind the Headlines

*Last week saw the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill, the Government's vision to modernise the NHS so that it is built around patients, led by healthcare professionals and focused on delivering world-class healthcare outcomes.

The Bill contains provisions covering five themes:

· strengthening commissioning of NHS services

· increasing democratic accountability and public voice

· liberating provision of NHS services

· strengthening public health services

· reforming health and care arm's-length bodies.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says: "Modernising the NHS is a necessity, not an option - in order to meet rising need in the future, we need to make changes.

“We need to take steps to improve health outcomes, bringing them up to the standards of the best international healthcare systems, and to bring down the NHS money spent on bureaucracy.

“This legislation will deliver changes that will improve outcomes for patients and save the NHS £1.7 billion every year - money that will be reinvested into services for patients.

"This is the start of a cultural shift to a patient-centred NHS. The proposals set out in the Health and Social Care Bill will strengthen the NHS for the future and make the changes that are needed for vital modernisation to put more patients and NHS staff in control."

What's in the Bill for NICE?

While much of the media coverage has centred on the plans to hand over the role of commissioning patient services to GP-led consortia, little has been said about the prosopals to reform health and care arm's length bodies, such as NICE.

The Health Bill will see NICE placed on a firmer statutory footing securing its independence and core functions, and allow the institute to move into social care.

Sir Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE, says: “In the 12 years of our existence we have provided the NHS, and those who rely on it for their care, with an extensive range of advice on effective, good value healthcare, and gained a reputation for independence and objectivity.

“The Bill states, as expected, that NICE will be re-established as a non-departmental public body rather than our current status as a special health authority.

“Our role is also expanding into providing guidance for the social care sector. To acknowledge the new social care role, our name will change to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Although our name is changing, we will still be known as NICE.

“The Bill will also set in statute the use of NICE quality standards - sets of specific, concise statements that define high-quality, cost-effective care across a disease, condition or clinical area, and are derived from the best available evidence,” adds Mr Dillon.

It is expected that NICE's quality standards will form the basis of GPs' commissioning decisions, and will also be used to assess GPs' and other NHS providers' performance and to determine levels of pay.

24 January 2011

This page was last updated: 19 December 2011

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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.