The NHS will have to comply with NICE guidance on new drugs and treatments or explain to patients why there is a delay, under a new scheme announced today.
This will help end the unfair practice where some parts of the NHS delay offering new treatments while other areas make them available straight away.
This regime, expected to be fully implemented by the Autumn, will be made up of three different parts:
Publishing an ‘innovation scorecard’ which will allow patients and the public to see which organisations are quickly adopting the latest NICE-approved drugs and treatments;
The NHS will have no excuse not to provide the latest NICE-approved drugs and treatments. They will be automatically added onto lists of what drugs are available in local areas, which will be published for all to see. This means new drugs and treatments will be automatically made available for doctors to prescribe across the NHS; and
Making uptake of new drugs and treatments quicker by helping the NHS overcome any barriers, by setting up a new group to help local NHS organisations implement NICE guidelines. New drugs and treatments can mean the NHS has to make big changes to the way they provide services, which can be a complicated process. The new group will help spread best practice and make uptake by the NHS quicker for patients.
Health Minister Paul Burstow said:
"Patients have a right to drugs and treatments that have been approved by NICE. This new regime will be a catalyst for change - we are determined to eradicate variation and drive up standards for everyone.