Meeting legal requirements
All NHS organisations have a legal requirement to implement NICE guidance.
In 1999, the Department of Health issued a health circular (1999/176) making it clear that the NHS should continue with local procedures for managing technologies where a NICE appraisal was ongoing, or where NICE was not looking at a technology.
Once technology appraisal guidance has been published, the Department of Health has directed that the NHS should provide funding for recommended medicines and treatments within three months, unless instructed by the Secretary of State.
On December 14 2006 the Department of Health issued a good practice guidance on managing the introduction of new healthcare interventions. This updates the health circular 1999/176 and further clarifies the guidance on the funding of technology appraisal guidance. A link to the good practice guidance is at the bottom of this page.
In 2003 the Secretary of State issued a health circular (2003/011) explaining to the NHS in England how to introduce new interventional procedures into clinical practice. The Welsh Assembly Government and Scottish Executive have issued corresponding circulars.
Programme of action to support implementation
In October 2003, the Secretary of State for Health commissioned the National Cancer Director to work with strategic health authorities (SHAs), cancer networks and the pharmaceutical industry to develop a report on variations in the use of cancer drugs approved by NICE.
On publication of the report in June 2004, the Minister of State for Health sent a letter to patient, professional and industry groups setting out a broad programme of action to support the NHS in implementing NICE guidance. The letter was accompanied by a statement detailing the programme and placing it in the context of the government's overall policy for national standards in the NHS.
- Department of Health good practice guidance - December 2006
- Legal context of NICE guidance
- Health Service Circular 1999/176
- Secretary of State´s Direction on the funding of technology appraisals
- Health Service Circular HSC 2003/011
- Welsh Health Circular WHC (2003) 58
- Health Department Letter HDL (2004) 04
- National Cancer Director´s report on variations in usage of cancer drugs
- Minister of State´s letter on implementation of NICE guidance
This page was last updated: 13 August 2010