What NICE is

NICE stands for The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It is an independent organisation, set up by the Government in 1999. NICE decides which drugs and treatments are available on the NHS in England and Wales.

The government developed NICE to get rid of the post code lottery, which meant that some drugs and treatments were available in some parts of the country, but not in others. This should mean that people have the same access to treatment and care wherever they live.

What NICE does

NICE’s main responsibilities are to:

  • Assess new drugs and treatments as they become available
  • Provide evidence based guidelines on how particular conditions should be treated
  • Provide guidelines on how public health and social care services can best support people
  • Provide information services for those managing and providing health and social care

NICE considers whether a treatment:

  • Benefits patients
  • Will help the NHS meet its targets, for example by improving cancer survival rates
  • Is value for money or cost effective

Once NICE issues its guidance, NHS trusts must find the money to make those drugs or treatments available. NICE doesn’t give any extra money, or advise on how to find the money.

When making decisions, NICE asks for expert advice from:

  • Medical and other health professionals
  • Patients, carers and people using social care services
  • Patient and carer support organisations
  • Drug companies

What are NICE Pathways?

NICE Pathways offer an easy-to-use, intuitive way of accessing a range of clinical, public health and social care information from NICE. They include up to date NICE guidance, quality standards and related information.

NICE Pathways are a key resource for users of NICE guidance as they allow users to navigate the breadth and depth of NICE recommendations on any subject through interactive topic-based diagrams.

NICE Pathways visually represent all of NICE’s recommendations on a topic, linking to other relevant topics to create a network of information. Because they bring together guidance and supporting information on the topic from all of our work programmes, users do not need to understand how NICE classifies different types of guidance to be able to see everything NICE has said about a particular topic.

NICE Pathways are for people who use NICE guidance. This includes health and social care professionals, public health experts, those who commission or provide health and social care services, employers and members of the public.

What do NICE Pathways cover?

NICE Pathways visually represent all of NICE’s recommendations on a topic, and give access to the products that NICE has produced to support implementation of its guidance.

NICE products you’ll find in NICE Pathways are:

  • clinical, public health, social care, safe staffing and medicines practice guidelines
  • technology appraisals, interventional procedures, medical technology, diagnostics and highly specialised technologies guidance
  • quality standards
  • accompanying tools produced by NICE to support implementation.

Visit the NICE pathways website

Published on 13 Jun, 2016 (updated 29 Apr, 2024)

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