National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2009/2010

What people are saying about quality standards

  • Arriving at these quality standards is an absolutely critical thing to do. I want the NHS to focus on better health outcomes, providing a service that better reflects what is important to patients, and builds upon clinical evidence.

    Health Secretary Andrew Lansley
  • Quality standards have enormous potential to become, in due course, an important tool for supporting the commissioning and provision of high quality services to patients.

    Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS
  • The specialist neonatal care quality standard provides clear, practical steps that will improve the quality of specialist neonatal care, reduce variations in practice nationwide, and support families at a very difficult time in their lives.

    Jan Dudley, Clinical Standards Committee Chair, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Diabetes is such a major public health problem, it is important that there are clear standards in place that will help those involved in the care of people with this serious condition. I am sure the standard will be welcomed by both patients and healthcare professionals alike.

    Anna Morton, Director of NHS Diabetes

The past year has seen NICE roll out the first of its quality standards, an initiative designed to help the NHS and social care organisations deliver a consistently high standard of clinical care, patient safety and patient experience.

Quality standards are a set of specific, concise statements that act as markers of high quality, cost-effective patient care, and are central to supporting the Government's vision for an NHS focussed on delivering the best possible outcomes for patients.

Derived from the best available evidence such as NICE guidance and other evidence sources accredited by NHS Evidence, they are developed independently by NICE, in collaboration with health professionals and service users.

Topics are selected by the National Quality Board's Prioritisation Committee, with referral by ministers.

In 2010/11, NICE published quality standards for stroke, the prevention of venous thromboembolism, dementia, depression, specialist neonatal care, glaucoma, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Work has also started on developing a further 31 topics including asthma, bipolar disorder, diabetes and four different types of cancer.

By 2015, around 150 clinical areas will each have their own set of quality standards that will help to inform commissioning decisions and the development of NICE’s commissioning guides.

Dr Tony Rudd, who chaired the Stroke Quality Standard Topic Expert Group, says: "The stroke standard distils the key elements of stroke care that every patient should receive.

“In particular, I’m very excited about the quality statement based around offering patients active therapy. At the moment, some patients are not receiving any therapy and are just doing nothing. Driving up the amount of therapy that people get can have a huge impact on outcomes.”

To find out more about the Quality Standards programme go to the NICE website.