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Home Industry News Government opens consultation on NICE reforms

Government opens consultation on NICE reforms

7th March 2006

The government has launched a consultation into reforming the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Proposals from the Department of Health (DoH) include shortening the referral time for topics to be discussed by NICE by up to four months, and allowing topics to be discussed by specialist committees of professionals directly familiar with the disease or condition in question.

NICE has proved to be a highly controversial body. Originally established in 1999 and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, from January 2005 NHS trusts were obliged to fund treatments approved by NICE.

However, decisions relating to the cost effectiveness of certain treatments have raised anger with several groups. A public consultation paper published mid-2005, which proposed to withdraw several drugs for patients with Alzheimer’s, drew ire from many carers and representative bodies, who argued that financial concerns were being put before care.

“Topic selection is a critical part of the process of producing NICE guidance,” said Jane Kennedy, health minister.

“We need the process to be quicker, more responsive and have more NHS and patient representation to ensure the topics referred to NICE are the ones on which advice is most needed.”

The consultation ends on June 9th.

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