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NICE consults on new breast cancer draft quality standard

NICE has today (6 April) launched a consultation on its draft quality standard for the management of patients with early, locally advanced and advanced breast cancer.

NICE quality standards aim to help commissioners, healthcare and service providers deliver the best levels of quality, evidence-based patient care. They are derived from the best available evidence (usually NICE guidance or NHS Evidence-accredited sources), and are the only health and social care standards that apply right across the NHS in England. NICE quality standards will play a pivotal role in the new NHS Outcomes Framework1, an overview of aims and objectives in improving patient outcomes in the NHS.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in England, and around one in nine women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. More than 45,700 new cases are diagnosed each year, and it is the leading cause of death in women aged 34 to 54. In men, breast cancer is very rare, with about 300 men diagnosed each year in the UK2.

The draft quality standard on breast cancer has 13 statements to help improve care for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. These include ensuring that patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of breast cancer are referred to a unit where breast cancer screening services are integrated with treatment and management services. It also states that patients with breast cancer considered suitable for breast conservation are offered surgical techniques that combine adequate removal of the disease with a good aesthetic outcome. In addition, the standard states that patients with early invasive breast cancer, irrespective of age, are offered surgery and appropriate systemic therapy, unless significant comorbidity precludes it.

The draft quality standard will be available on the NICE website for consultation, which allows stakeholders to comment and help identify which statements are most important to support service improvement.

Dr Fergus Macbeth, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: “Sadly, breast cancer affects a large number of women in England, so this standard is an important step in helping those responsible for the treatment of patients with this condition to deliver the best care possible. I would now urge all those with an interest in this area to submit their comments on this draft standard via the NICE website.”

This draft standard has been issued for consultation; NICE has not yet published the final quality standard to the NHS.

The draft standard is available for consultation on the NICE website from Wednesday 6 April until 5.00pm on Wednesday 4 May at:

All eligible comments will be reviewed by the independent Topic Expert Group and the standards will be refined in light of this information. The final quality standard for breast cancer is expected to be published in August 2011.

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Notes to Editors

  • More information on NICE quality standards.
  • Quality standard topics are referred to NICE by ministers on the advice of the National Quality Board, a group of representatives from health and social care, committed to improving quality in the NHS and overseeing the reforms aimed at improving care. See further information on the National Quality Board.
  • The quality standard on breast cancer covers the management of patients with early, locally advanced and advanced breast cancer, including the referral of patients with suspected breast cancer from primary care.

About NICE

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice throughits 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.

References

1. The recently announced Transparency in Outcomes framework for the NHS proposes using quality standards to produce more detailed commissioning guidance to meet the suggested outcome goals. Go to the NHS Outcomes Framework.

2. Cancer Research UK

This page was last updated: 06 April 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.