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NICE launches database highlighting primary care referral advice

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has today (19 October 2010) launched a database of NICE guidance recommendations covering the referral of patients from primary care to secondary care. The NICE ‘referral advice' recommendations database covers referral advice for patients with the range of conditions NICE has published guidance on such as suspected cancer, lower back pain and psoriasis.

Over the past few years NICE has been giving greater prominence to highlighting, through its guidance, those recommendations which direct the NHS away from less effective practice. This database highlights recommendations from NICE guidance which clearly identify where patients might benefit from secondary care or specialist services (and, by implication, those where patients would not benefit from these services). Apart from ensuring value for money, the NHS, by following the recommendations in this database, will help improve clinical outcomes and patient experience, as well as reduce local and regional inequalities in the care offered to patients.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE Clinical and Public Health Director, said: “Inappropriate referral to secondary care places a large financial burden on the NHS. Implementing NICE guidance can provide a way for GPs and commissioners to ensure that patients receive treatment that is proven to be both clinically and cost effective, including when it is appropriate to refer a patient to hospital. Following NICE guidance frees up resources and capacity that can then be channelled into other services.”

He continued: “The decision to refer a patient to secondary care or specialist services is extremely important and is based on a variety of factors. The NICE ‘referral advice' recommendations database is a valuable resource for those providing and commissioning care on when patients should be referred on from primary care.”

The database is one of a number of initiatives from NICE focussing on helping the NHS as it faces up to arguably its greatest challenge yet - to deliver the QIPP (Quality, Improvement, Productivity and Prevention) agenda, whilst facing a squeeze on finances.

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Notes to Editors

About the NICE referral advice database

1. View the NICE referral advice database on the NICE website

About NICE

1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance 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 and procedures within the NHS
  • clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

This page was last updated: 18 October 2010

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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.