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NICE criticised

The UK parliament’s Health Select Committee (HSC) is gearing up for an inquiry into the workings of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), with submissions coming in slowly but surely.

NICE publishes clinical appraisals of whether particular treatments should be covered by the NHS, based primarily on criteria of cost-effectiveness and regularly comes in for criticism from drugmakers, charities and medical professionals.

As a result, the HSC is doing the groundwork for an inquiry which will look at why NICE’s decisions are increasingly being challenged; whether public confidence in the Institute is waning, and, if so, why; NICE’s evaluation process and whether any particular groups are disadvantaged by the process; the speed of publishing guidance; the appeal system; comparison with the work of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network; and the implementation of NICE guidance, both technology appraisals and clinical guidelines (which guidance is acted on, which is not and the reasons for this).