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NICE to develop further quality standards promoting the integration of health and social care services

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is to develop further integrated health and social care standards after several topic areas were referred to the Institute by the Department of Health.

NICE quality standards set out aspirational but achievable care through measurable statements and indicators and are highlighted as an important driver of quality improvement in the Health and Social Care Act (2012). NICE is currently developing two pilot health and social care quality standards, on the care of people with dementia and the health and wellbeing of looked-after children, which will publish in April 2013. At the Government's request, NICE will now begin to develop health and social care quality standards on the care and wellbeing of both adults and children with autism and on the mental wellbeing of older people in residential care. These will be based, as are all NICE quality standards, on accredited guidance, including NICE clinical guidelines and public health guidance.

The Department of Health has also tasked NICE with developing a number of standards where no health or social care guidance on a topic exists. This will mean that NICE must first develop new guidance recommendations before producing the relevant quality standard. This therefore marks the start of a very significant programme of work in social care for the Institute. These topic areas include:

  • The transition from child to adult services.
  • The transition between health and social care services.
  • Management of physical and mental co-morbidities of older people in community and residential care settings.
  • Medicines management in care homes.
  • Child maltreatment.

Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, said: “We welcome these referrals, which mark the Government's commitment to NICE's new role of developing guidance and quality standards for the social care sector. It's important for health and social care services to work in tandem and the standards we develop will play a vital role in ensuring services are closely aligned to ensure effective, high quality patient care is consistently achieved.

“Having received these referrals, we can now start working with social care organisations and other experts to plan the scope of these standards. This will enable us to co-ordinate their development - and any necessary guidance on which these standards will need to be based - as quickly and efficiently as possible once our social care remit formally begins in April 2013.”

NICE's quality standards aim to drive and measure improvements in a particular area of care, helping practitioners raise standards for those who use health and social care services. When published, the health and social care system should take relevant quality standards into consideration when planning and delivering services.

Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for quality said: "The Care and Support White Paper set out our plans to drive up the quality of care. NICE's new quality standards on social care will be a key driver of this. They will help define what good care and support looks like for commissioners and care providers as well as people using services."

Ends

Notes to Editors

1. NICE has been asked by the Department of Health to develop quality standards for health and social care professionals in the following areas:

  • Autism in adults
  • Autism in children
  • Child maltreatment
  • Domiciliary care
  • The transition between child and adult services
  • The transition between health and social care, including discharge planning, admission avoidance, reducing readmissions and reducing unnecessary bed occupancy
  • Mental wellbeing of older people in residential care
  • Management of physical and mental co-morbidities of older people in community and residential care settings
  • Medicines management in care homes

2. The Health and Social Care Act (2012) sets out a new responsibility for NICE to develop quality standards and other guidance for social care in England. Further information on NICE´s new role in social care can be found on the Institute's website.

3. Health and social care quality standards will apply in England only. It will be for the UK devolved administrations to decide on local policy. Where appropriate, memoranda of understanding or service level agreements will be put in place.

4. Quality standards aim to drive forward high quality patient care by identifying and addressing priority areas for improvement. Every quality standard is based on accredited guidance but, if no relevant health or social care guidance exists, NICE will develop this before the standard can be produced. This process involves working with a partner organisation - a National Collaborating Centre (NCC) - to project manage the development of the guidance. NICE is currently tendering for an NCC to help the Institute develop social care guidance with an appointment expected to be made by April 2013.

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 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.

This page was last updated: 26 October 2012

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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.