NICE

25/3/19

NICE is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (no, we don't know where the extra H went either) - an important evidence-based governmental body (responsible to the Department of Health) in the UK. NICE are responsible for, among other things, the validation of medical technologies, treatments and procedures used in the NHS (England & Wales only - Scotland & NI have their own bodies - Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and NI Department for implementation in Health and Social Care (HSC)).

They issue guidance based on their evaluation of the best available evidence for patients, medical staff and health care professionals and they have considerable power in deciding what treatments are used in the NHS. They also have to consider the financial impact to the public purse. Because of this they often come under fire from patients and campaign groups. Certain popular treatments that patients and family wish to try may be unavailable. leading to accusations of putting finances before patients. Occasionally the subject of Big Pharma also comes up.

This doesn't mean that they aren't subject to valid criticism, however. They are frequently challenged over the time taken to reach decisions. putting patients at risk. There have also been calls for the body to adjust the parameters used to make financial decisions as certain metrics have shown that beyond a certain point treatments may provide little extra benefit at the expense of the treatment and recovery of other patients.

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