What we do

NICE's role is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services. We do this by:

  • Producing evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners.
  • Developing quality standards and performance metrics for those providing and commissioning health, public health and social care services;
  • Providing a range of information services for commissioners, practitioners and managers across the spectrum of health and social care.

Evidence-based guidance and advice

Since 1999 we have provided the NHS, and those who rely on it for their care, with an increasing range of advice on effective, good value healthcare, and have gained a reputation for rigor, independence and objectivity. In April 2013 we gained new responsibilities for providing guidance for those working in social care.

Our guidance takes several forms:

  • Clinical guidelines provide the NHS and others with advice on the management of individual conditions. They are systematically-developed statements to assist professional and patient decisions about appropriate care for specific clinical circumstances. These may be as diverse as antenatal care, breast cancer or schizophrenia. They are developed in association with the Royal Medical, Nursing and Midwifery Colleges.
  • Technology appraisals assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of health technologies, such as new pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products, but also include procedures, devices and diagnostic agents. This is to ensure that all NHS patients have equitable access to the most clinically- and cost-effective treatments that are available.
  • Social care guidance will provide practical support to practitioners working in children's and adult's social services, and people that use these services and their carers.
  • Cost-saving medical technologies and diagnostic agent reviews help facilitate speedy and consistent access to and use of these technologies in the NHS.
  • Interventional procedures guidance recommends whether interventional procedures, such as laser treatments for eye problems or deep brain stimulation for chronic pain, are effective and safe enough for use in the NHS.
  • Public health guidance covers disease prevention, health improvement and health protection and has influenced policy and practice in the NHS and local government on many of the big issues in today's society such as smoking, obesity, physical exercise, alcohol misuse and accident prevention. We also produce briefings for local government to help them in their public health roles.

Quality Standards and other performance metrics.

  • Quality Standards are concise sets of statements, with accompanying metrics, designed to drive and measure priority quality improvements within a particular area of care. They are derived from the best available evidence, particularly NICE's own guidance and, where this do not exist, from other evidence sources accredited by NICE.
  • Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF). NICE undertakes the development of an annual menu of potential indicators for inclusion in the clinical component of the QOF, the quality element of the contract the NHS has with General Practitioners. We also recommend whether existing indicators should continue or be retired.
  • Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCGOIS). Working with the NHS Commissioning Board, as well as with professional and patient groups, we have developed a framework for measuring health outcomes and the quality of care (including patient reported outcomes and patient experience) achieved by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Information services

We commission and provide access to a range of information services to ensure that health and social care professionals have quick and easy access to reliable information. This includes:

  • NICE Evidence, an online search engine that identifies relevant clinical, public health and social care guidance. As part of the service, NICE also provides access to information content purchased on behalf of the NHS. This includes access to a range of bibliographic databases such as MEDLINE, and professional journals.
  • British National Formulary (BNF) and British National Formulary for Children (BNFC), published jointly by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Medical Association. For a number of years, NICE has been responsible for providing NHS access to these publications, including recently through the use of smartphone apps.
  • Medicines and prescribing support; information about new pharmaceutical products; and information about the use of particular products outside the scope of their licensed indications. This includes Good Practice Guidance to support best practice in medicines management, including practical advice on developing and maintaining local medicines formularies.

Fellows and Scholars

Our Fellows and Scholars programme aims to foster a network of health and social care professionals committed to improving the quality of patient care within their local health and professional communities, as well as supporting the core values that underpin NICE's work.

NICE International

NICE International is helping to raise standards of healthcare around the world by proving advice and support to encourage the use of clinically and cost effective treatments.

NICE International - which operates on a strict not-for-profit, fee-for-service basis - also carries out important research activities such as generating case-studies, preparing tools to help data analysis, and encouraging shared learning through international meetings.

This page was last updated: 28 March 2013

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Selected, reliable information for health and social care in one place

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.