Report on 'NICE 2008 - excellence in action'
NICE has ‘set a really high bar' in terms of standards of evidence and transparency. ‘It would be good to see that transferred to other areas of NHS decision-making,' said Nigel Edwards, Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation. Edwards, who was addressing delegates at NICE's 10th annual conference in December, added: ‘We need to start thinking, as we move into a budgetary constrained world, how NICE can help us make some of these difficult decisions about how the trade-offs are made.'
Over 1000 delegates from the NHS, local authorities and the community and voluntary sectors, joined us at ‘NICE 2008 - excellence in action' in Manchester, where they heard from more than a 100 speakers and helped us celebrate our achievements over the past 10 years.
Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, reflected on NICE's impact on healthcare during its 10 year existence.
‘The question I ask my colleagues is, has NICE guidance answered a pressing clinical need? Before NICE there was little evidence- based guidance that reached across specialities and patients. Yes, there is controversy. But that controversy has unjustly overshadowed the major contribution NICE has made.'
NICE chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins described key landmarks in our first decade, such as the establishment of the national collaborating centres and the Citizens Council, as well as the more recent Health Select Committee's second report into our work. (Published in January, the report said NICE has a vital role to play in prioritising the use of scarce resources within the NHS. See ‘In focus', 31 March 2008.)
Sir Michael also described some of our future challenges, including the additional responsibilities outlined by Lord Darzi's ‘NHS next stage review final report' and what these developments will mean for the health service.
Dr Gillian Leng, NICE Deputy Chief Executive and NHS Evidence Chief Operating Officer, explained to delegates how NICE is developing NHS Evidence - one of the additional responsibilities resulting from the Darzi review. The aim, she said, is to set up a newportal offering access to high-quality clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice on the Internet.
During a debate on health inequalities, Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive, Turning Point, said he ‘welcomed all guidance to help tackle complex multicultural public health problems with no clear solution'. Giving obesity as an example of ‘a multi-faceted problem that is influenced by numerous factors', he emphasised the need to map public health problems as a whole to determine where interventions could make a difference.
One of the highlights of the conference was a series of workshops focused on the work of the nine candidates shortlisted for the Shared Learning Awards, which have been established to celebrate the best examples of how organisations have implemented NICE clinical or public health guidance.
First prize was awarded to North Bristol Health Trust for ‘NICE training improves outcomes: making the right way the easiest way'. The Trust implemented the training recommendations from NICE clinical guideline 55, ‘Intrapartum care: management and delivery of care to women in labour'. As a result, the number of babies born with brain damage has been reduced from 27.3 to 13.6 per 10,000 births.
NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson closed the conference with his vision for a new NHS. The key focus, he said, would be on changing clinician behaviour to improve patient care and services. The Darzi report has provided the impetus for such change, he added, by showing how practice can be improved in a range of areas.
Next year's annual conference will take place in Manchester on 2-3 December 2009.
5 January 2009
This page was last updated: 12 July 2010