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NHS Quality Standards

Volume 542: debated on Monday 19 March 2012

Today we are referring new NHS quality standard topics, that supplement previous referrals, to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

NICE quality standards are a set of specific, concise statements and associated measures. They set out aspirational, but achievable, markers of high-quality, cost-effective patient care, covering the treatment and prevention of different diseases and conditions.

Quality standards will underpin the commissioning process. Under the provisions set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, the Secretary of State and the NHS Commissiong Board will come under new duties to have regard to any quality standards produced by NICE.

This list of topics being referred today follows advice received by the National Quality Board (NQB). The NQB developed a proposed list of topics in partnership with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which was then the subject of an engagement exercise conducted between 15 August and 14 October 2011.

Responses to the engagement exercise were supportive of the overall quality standards programme and the diversity of topics put forward. Detailed comments were also received on what particular aspects of care should be addressed by specific quality standards and we have asked NICE to take these detailed comments into account when developing quality standards.

In addition to this referral of NHS topics, we are today referring three pilot topics for development into NHS facing quality standards on cross-cutting public health topics. These quality standards will focus on the action the NHS can take in these areas, and comes in response to the recent recommendations from the NHS Future Forum that NICE should develop quality standards setting out the evidence-based action that the NHS can take in relation to the main lifestyle risk factors.

The NQB will continue to keep the sequencing of quality standard topics under regular review as well as the case for referring additional topics, taking into account operational requirements, NICE’S capacity to produce quality standards and clinical guidelines, and the evidence that is available at the time.

A copy of today’s referral letter to NICE (including a list of topics) has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper office. Further information on quality standards can be found on NICE’s website: