National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE consults on programme manual for its Diagnostics Assessment Programme

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently opened its consultation on the programme manual outlining the proposed process and methods for its Diagnostics Assessment Programme. This new area of work was established by NICE in 2009, to focus specifically on the evaluation of innovative medical diagnostic technologies.

The programme manual will inform the independent Diagnostics Advisory Committee (DAC), whose role is to consider the evidence relating to a diagnostic's clinical and cost effectiveness, to make draft recommendations based on that assessment, to consider public consultation comments and to make final recommendations for publication in NICE diagnostics guidance. The programme manual will also be helpful in explaining how diagnostics evaluations are carried out, and will be of interest to manufacturers, health professionals and organisations representing patient groups who are involved in the guidance process. Many of these groups have made valuable contributions to the development of the draft programme manual.

Dr Carole Longson, Director of the NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: "The NICE Diagnostics Assessment Programme has three core objectives: promoting the rapid and consistent adoption of innovative clinically and cost effective diagnostic technologies in the NHS, improving treatment choice or the length and quality of life by evaluating diagnostic technologies that have the potential to improve key clinical decisions, and improving the efficient use of NHS resources by evaluating diagnostic technologies that have the potential to improve systems and processes for the delivery of health and social care. We warmly welcomecomments on the programme manual as part of this consultation from anyone who has an interest in the evaluation of diagnostic technologies. We need to ensure that our process and methods are robust, relevant and, ultimately, result in diagnostics guidance that, in meeting our core objectives, benefit both patients and the NHS."

The consultation will run for 13 weeks, ending at 5pm on 9 September 2011. Subject to approval by the NICE Board, the programme manual will be published in early 2012. More information on the consultation is available from the NICE website.

Notes to Editors

About the NICE diagnostics assessment programme

1. Further information about the NICE diagnostics assessment programme can be found at:

2. Topics to be considered will be selected through the related Medical Technologies Assessment Programme. Further information about this can be found at:

About NICE

1. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health

2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  • public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
  • health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
  • clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

3. NICE produces standards for patient care:

  • quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients

4. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.


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