(2) what steps he is taking to (a) publicise and (b) implement the recommendations of the updated National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guideline update for schizophrenia;
(3) what (a) support and (b) guidance has been made available to healthcare professionals to facilitate adherence to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guideline update on schizophrenia; and whether he has put in place ongoing monitoring to assess the implementation of the guidance by healthcare professionals.
We welcome the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE’s) updated guidance on schizophrenia and expect it to help further improve the quality of treatment and care for people with schizophrenia.
It is for NICE to publicise the release of its guidance to the national health service and it is for the NHS to implement it. NICE publishes implementation tools to help the NHS implement its guidance locally.
Clinicians are responsible for deciding on the most appropriate form of treatment for their patients, and in doing so they are expected to take NICE guidance fully into account. The Department does not become involved in clinical decisions, nor does it collect data on implementation levels of this NICE guidance among NHS organisations.
NICE issues both technology appraisals (TAs) and clinical guidelines (CGs) and the schizophrenia guidance issued this March is a CG. Clinicians are expected to consider treatments outlined in CGs when considering prescribing options, but are not obliged to prescribe these. As CGs are very broad in approach and can contain 100 or more recommendations, health bodies should implement the guidance as and when resources permit.
There are no plans for the Care Quality Commission to monitor adherence with the clinical guideline on schizophrenia published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
NICE clinical guidelines support national health service commissioning and best practice in service provision, but compliance with these are not direct indicators of levels of safety and quality. The Department expects NHS organisations to work towards full implementation of NICE clinical guidelines over a reasonable period of time using available resources.