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NICE seeks specialists to boost quality

Specialist clinicians will have a role to play in producing new quality standards for the NHS, the project leader has said.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) is escalating its drive to produce quality standards for health and social care, with the aim of adding more than 150 to its existing 22.

The latest, a document setting out standards for the care of pregnant women in England, has just been published.

Each document contains between 10 and 15 statements which describe ‘aspirational but achievable’ goals for a particular health or social care service.

From this month, three standing committees newly established by NICE will take on the job of producing quality standards.

Expert advice

NICE deputy chief executive and project head Gillian Leng said specialist clinicians would be invited on to the committees as appropriate to ensure expert input.

BMA consultants committee joint deputy chair Tom Kane welcomed the idea of ‘nationally approved, robust quality standards’ but stressed that ‘the right clinicians’ must be involved.

He said: ‘We need to have some considerable reassurance that NICE is doing this to the highest possible standard and producing the right answers.’