21 July 2015

Government review describes NICE as a “respected, trusted, high performing organisation”

NICE is well respected, credible and trusted by the public, clinicians and other stakeholders, in part due to its impartiality and independence, a review of NICE has concluded.

The first Triennial Review of NICE, published by the government, has described a well-managed, high performing organisation that is trusted for its evidence-based approach.

Triennial Reviews, part of the Government’s Public Bodies Reform Programme, provide a robust challenge to the continuing need for public bodies and reviews control and governance arrangements.

The review looked at what NICE does, if it is necessary and, if so, whether any aspects could be better delivered by another organisation. The review also considered NICE’s impact, communications and relationships, efficiency and governance.

The review did not consider the methodologies and processes used by NICE because these are being looked at by the government’s Accelerated Access Review.

The review concluded that “NICE performed well in the delivery of necessary functions and was highly valued by stakeholders”. The review added that “NICE is a respected and valued organisation with an important role to play, particularly in financially constrained times”.

Professor David Haslam, Chair of NICE, said: “This review has thoroughly examined our remit and work.  We are heartened by its endorsement of NICE’s work – using the best evidence to support best practice in the interests of all people using or working in health and social care."

A total of 14 recommendations were made on areas such as performance, communication and engagement, efficiency and governance.

The review recommended that the Department of Health “should consider the clinical and cost effectiveness appraisals currently conducted within the health and care system, including the Cancer Drugs Fund, with a view to establishing whether NICE should be the single expert body with responsibility for such appraisals”.

To work effectively in the changing health and care system, NICE should – according to the review – increase its profile particularly with patients, service users, their families and carers and in social care.

It says that NICE should explore ways to meet the needs of new audiences for its guidance in social care.  And it advises NICE to work more closely with the MHRA,   and work with NHS England to use NICE guidance in commissioning arrangements.

The review advises that an external assessment of the NICE Board should consider if any additional skills are needed. Turning to NICE’s independent committees, the review recommends that NICE should make sure “the arrangements for operating and quality controlling the work of the independent advisory committees are robust and transparent”.

Finally, the review suggests that “the Accelerated Access Review should consider the advantages and disadvantages arising from charging industry for health technology appraisals and medical devices and diagnostics evaluations”.

Professor Haslam said “Following the review, we will now work hard, both within NICE and with our partners in the NHS and social care system, to take on board the recommendations to improve the work we do.

“I am delighted that this thorough examination of NICE’s work has delivered such a positive conclusion. It is testament to the hard work of our independent committees who give their time and expertise so generously and for the public good as well as the excellence and commitment of our staff.”

To find out more about the work of NICE, and some of the key achievements over the past 12 months, visit the NICE annual review 2014-15 microsite.

I am delighted that this thorough examination of NICE’s work has delivered such a positive conclusion

Prof David Haslam, Chair of NICE