NICE quality standards describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. Each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific, concise and measurable statements. NICE quality standards draw on existing NICE or NICE-accredited guidance that provides an underpinning, comprehensive set of recommendations, and are designed to support the measurement of improvement.
Expected levels of achievement for quality measures are not specified. Quality standards are intended to drive up the quality of care, and so achievement levels of 100% should be aspired to (or 0% if the quality statement states that something should not be done). However, this may not always be appropriate in practice. Taking account of safety, shared decision-making, choice and professional judgement, desired levels of achievement should be defined locally.
Information about how NICE quality standards are developed is available from the NICE website.
See our webpage on quality standard advisory committees for details of standing committee 2 members who advised on this quality standard. Information about the topic experts invited to join the standing members is available from the webpage for this quality standard.
This quality standard has been included in the NICE Pathway on managing long-term sickness absence and capability to work, which brings together everything we have said on a topic in an interactive flowchart.
NICE has produced a quality standard service improvement template to help providers make an initial assessment of their service compared with a selection of quality statements. This tool is updated monthly to include new quality standards.
NICE guidance and quality standards apply in England and Wales. Decisions on how they apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland are made by the Scottish government and Northern Ireland Executive. NICE quality standards may include references to organisations or people responsible for commissioning or providing care that may be relevant only to England.
NICE quality standards should be achievable by local services. The potential resource impact is considered by the quality standards advisory committee, drawing on resource impact work for the source guidance. Organisations are encouraged to use the cost calculator and resource impact statement for the NICE guideline on workplace health: long-term sickness absence and capability to work to help estimate local costs.
Equality issues were considered during development and equality assessments for this quality standard are available. Any specific issues identified during development of the quality statements are highlighted in each statement.
Commissioners and providers should aim to achieve the quality standard in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. Nothing in this quality standard should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.