NICE to develop standards
Caring Times, November 2012
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to develop further integrated health and social care standards after several topic areas were referred to the Institute by the Department of Health.
NICE quality standards set out aspirational but achievable care through measurable statements and indicators and are highlighted as an important driver of quality improvement in the Health and Social Care Act (2012).
NICE is currently developing two pilot health and social care quality standards, on the care of people with dementia and the health and wellbeing of looked-after children, which will publish in April 2013. At the Government’s request, NICE will now begin to develop health and social care quality standards on the care and wellbeing of both adults and children with autism and on the mental wellbeing of older people in residential care. These will be based, as are all NICE quality standards, on accredited guidance, including NICE clinical guidelines and public health guidance.
The Department of Health has also tasked NICE with developing a number of standards where no health or social care guidance on a topic exists. This will mean that NICE must first develop new guidance recommendations before producing the relevant quality standard. This therefore marks the start of a very significant programme of work in social care for the Institute. These topic areas include:
- The transition from child to adult services.
- The transition between health and social care services.
- Management of physical and mental co-morbidities of older people in community and residential care settings.
- Medicines management in care homes.
- Child maltreatment.
Dr Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “We welcome these referrals, which mark the Government’s commitment to NICE’s new role of developing guidance and quality standards for the social care sector. It’s important for health and social care services to work in tandem and the standards we develop will play a vital role in ensuring services are closely aligned to ensure effective, high quality patient care is consistently achieved.
“Having received these referrals, we can now start working with social care organisations and other experts to plan the scope of these standards. This will enable us to co-ordinate their development – and any necessary guidance on which these standards will need to be based – as quickly and efficiently as possible once our social care remit formally begins in April 2013.”
NICE’s quality standards aim to drive and measure improvements in a particular area of care, helping practitioners raise standards for those who use health and social care services.
When published, the health and social care system should take relevant quality standards into consideration when planning and delivering services. Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for quality said: “The Care and Support White Paper set out our plans to drive up the quality of care. NICE’s new quality standards on social care will be a key driver of this. They will help define what good care and support looks like for commissioners and care providers as well as people using services.”