NICE funds open online access to The Lancet for NHS and social care staff in England

As part of its drive to provide open access to high quality evidence, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has signed a three-year agreement with Elsevier to fund a national subscription to the online version of The Lancet.

Previously, NHS organisations or individual members of staff had to take out their own subscription to the online and paper versions of The Lancet. This agreement, effective from today (11 January), means they no longer need to subscribe to access the journal - a move which will save time and money and provide NHS-wide access to this valued resource.

The agreement will provide all NHS staff who have an Athens password access to the latest copies of The Lancet, as well as back copies from the last four years, through NHS Evidence ( the online service provided by NICE.

Healthcare students following an NHS-commissioned education programme which involves practice and placement within the NHS across England will also have access under the agreement.

Social care staff who meet the eligibility criteria will also be able to access The Lancet.

Announcing this subscription agreement with Elsevier, NICE Deputy Chief Executive Dr Gillian Leng said: "This announcement is good news for two reasons. Firstly it is a more efficient use of NHS funds and will save organisations money. Secondly, it opens up online access for health and social care professionals to one of the world's most respected medical journals. Instead of paying a subscription or sharing copies of The Lancet with colleagues, users can now access their own copy online every week, through NHS Evidence.

"For staff who prefer the paper version of The Lancet, Elsevier will, as part of this agreement, provide each NHS Trust Library with a hard copy of the journal for three years.

"Providing quick and easy access to the latest evidence to help professionals deliver high quality care is a key responsibility for NICE and we are delighted to have secured this agreement."

Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, said: "It is important for health professionals to have timely access to the most reliable and up-to-date medical and public health research to support patient care and population health. The Lancet is delighted that this partnership will allow access by all medical staff in the NHS to the work of some of the best medical scientists in the world today."


Notes to Editors

More than 285,000 NHS and social care staff already have an Athens account, and registration is free. Athens also provides online access to a wide range of databases of evidence and hundreds of other journals.

Social care staff who meet the eligibility criteria ( will also be able to access The Lancet via their NHS Athens accounts.

Eligible staff who don't already have an NHS Athens account may register online at For additional support with online journals and other electronic information resources, please contact your local library service (

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include SciVerse ScienceDirect, SciVerse Scopus, Reaxys, MD Consult and Nursing Consult, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai's Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

About NHS Evidence

NHS Evidence is a service provided by NICE to improve use of, and access to, evidence-based information about health and social care. The service includes an on-line portal providing access to a range of evidence-based information - primary research, summarised evidence, reports and practical evidence-based tools to support implementation. A formal programme accredits external guidance producers. The service also provides contract management to support the BNF, and journals and books purchased on behalf of the Strategic Health Authorities.

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: 11 January 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.