Changes we're making to health technology evaluation

The voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access was agreed by government and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) in December 2018. It commits NICE to a review of its methods for technology appraisals and highly specialised technologies, including the process of guidance production for highly specialised technologies.

We are taking this opportunity to extend this exercise to include the methods and processes of the Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme and the Diagnostics Assessment Programme as well, and align them where appropriate.

Why are we making these changes?

The purpose of our review is to optimise NICE's evaluation methods to support the ambition of the NHS to provide high quality care that offers good value to patients and to the NHS.

The review is not starting with a blank sheet of paper. This is an incremental development of our existing world class approach to evaluating new health technologies.

Changes to the healthcare system

The healthcare system is changing. Products are becoming more complicated to evaluate due to innovations such as:

  • personalised medicine
  • digital health technologies
  • cell therapy.

There's also demand for products to be made available more quickly, sometimes with a lower evidence base than was previously the case. This means there's more demand for the guidance and advice that we produce.

Our stakeholders are asking us to get involved with commercial discussions, as well as supporting commercial decisions. This is increasing the complexity of our operations.

We need to be faster and more efficient

Feedback from our stakeholders tells us that we need to speed up the way we work and become more efficient.

This is one of the many ways we'll improve how we do things, and respond to external changes.

Improvements we hope to see

We hope to:

  • speed up patient access to new and promising health technologies
  • support better market access
  • simplify the health technology evaluation process.


We want to hear your comments on plans to review our process of health technology evaluation. This consultation is open until 11:59pm 15 April 2021.

We have previously consulted on topic selection and the case for change to the methods of health technology evaluation.

Subscribe to our bulletin for updates and information about this review.

In November 2019, we held a webinar to share how and why health technology evaluation is changing and what it means for patients. Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, hosted the webinar, joined by:

  • Helen Knight, programme director
  • Jenniffer Prescott, programme director
  • Lizzie Thomas, senior public involvement advisor
  • Ian Watson, senior technical advisor.

The webinar includes a presentation and panel discussion based on questions sent in by the audience.

Who is involved?

We've set up a steering group and working group with external membership to oversee the review.

Steering group

The steering group will have senior oversight of the methods and process review, while considering the changing national policy landscape and its impact.


The steering group will use its collective knowledge of the health and care landscape to consider the changing national policy landscape and its impact. They'll also oversee the entire review and update.

  • Gareth Arthur, director of strategy and policy, NHS England
  • Meindert Boysen, director, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE
  • Paul Chrisp, director, Centre for Guidelines, NICE
  • Mike Drummond, independent adviser, Centre for Health Economics, University of York
  • Helen Knight, programme director, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE
  • Jenniffer Prescott, programme director, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE
  • Ian Watson, senior technical adviser, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE
  • Elizabeth Woodeson, director of medicines and pharmacy, Department of Health and Social Care.

Methods working group

The methods working group will commission the development of topics by short-life task and finish groups. It will review and consider the proposals from these groups in detail, before making recommendations to the steering group on the methods.


The methods working group will use their expertise to make operational decisions about the project. They'll also oversee the delivery of work, as instructed by the steering group.

  • Dr Jane Adam, chair, NICE appraisal committee
  • Doris Ann-Williams, CEO, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association
  • Paul Blakeley, senior policy adviser, Office for Life Sciences
  • Paul Catchpole, director of value and access, Association of British Pharmaceuticals Industry
  • David Chandler, chief executive, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance
  • Kirsty Edwards, Charity Medicines Access Coalition
  • Steve Edwards, director of health technology assessment, BMJ Technology Assessment Group
  • Leslie Galloway, chair, Ethical Medicines Industry Group
  • Charlotte Galvin, general manager UK and Ireland (amicus), UK Bio Industry Association
  • Jasdeep Hayre, associate director, technology appraisals, NICE
  • Johanna Hulme, associate director, Centre for Guidelines, NICE
  • Adrian Jonas, associate director, transformation, NICE
  • Pall Jonsson, associate director, science policy and research, NICE
  • Helen Knight, programme director, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE
  • Daniel Law, deputy director, medicines and pharmacy analysis, Department of Health and Social Care
  • Greg Manuel, policy manager, NHS England
  • Kieran Murphy, global senior director market access, ReCor Medical UK, Association of British HealthTech Industries
  • Bhash Naidoo, senior technical adviser, Centre for Guidelines, NICE
  • Danny Palnoch, head of medicines analysis, NHS England / NHS Improvement
  • Jenniffer Prescott, programme director, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE
  • Jayne Spink, chief executive, Genetic Alliance
  • Matt Stevenson, professor of health technology assessment, School of Health and Related Research, Sheffield
  • Lizzie Thomas, senior public involvement adviser, public involvement, NICE
  • Allan Wailoo, decision support unit, University of Sheffield
  • Ian Watson, senior technical adviser, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, NICE.

Patient working group

We've set up a patient working group so that we can:

  • get feedback from patient organisations
  • look at international examples of patient involvement
  • identify themes that are important to patients.

The group will feed back their proposals for improved patient involvement. It has representatives from:

  • Arrhythmia Alliance
  • Breast Cancer Now, and member of The Charity Medicines Access Coalition
  • Genetic Alliance UK and member of the Patients Involved in NICE executive group
  • Myeloma UK
  • NET Patient Foundation
  • Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance.


Please note, the below timeline has been amended in response to the ongoing pandemic, to enable stakeholders more time to respond to our consultations.

  • 1

    17 July 2019

    Our board considered and approved the topics we're including in the methods review and update.

  • 2

    July 2019 to June 2020

    • Commission research on specific methods topic areas.
    • Work with stakeholders as required throughout the review.
  • 3

    June to September 2020

    • Review findings and proposals.
  • 4

    November and December 2020

    • 6 week consultation on evidence and considerations for change to methods.
  • 5

    February to April 2021

    • 10-week consultation on evidence and considerations for change to processes.
  • 6

    April to July 2021

    • Review the public consultation responses.
  • 7

    August to September 2021

    • Stakeholder consultation on the draft programme manual.
  • 8

    September to November 2021

    • Review the stakeholder consultation responses.
    • Finalise new programme manual.
  • 9

    December 2021

    • Publish new programme manual.
  • 10

    January 2022 onwards

    • Implementation of new processes and methods begins.

Highly specialised technologies criteria review

We're reviewing the criteria used to decide whether a new technology should be evaluated through the highly specialised technologies programme, or the technology appraisals programme.

The purpose of reviewing the criteria is to make them clearer and more specific, and the outcome easier to understand and more predictable for our stakeholders. It is not intended that revised wording will increase or decrease the number of highly specialised technologies topics.

We'll ask for comments from our stakeholders on the wording changes later this year.