Hot topics from the NICE Annual Conference 2011

Posted by: in Healthcare Insights on May 13, 2011

Nigel Breakwell (WCG London Group Director) and I recently attended the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) annual conference in Birmingham this week – and boy was it interesting!  With over 1000 delegates from medical, political, academic, economic and business backgrounds, the auditorium was charged with great discussion, debate and attention.

GP broadcaster and journalist Phil Hammond hosted the event – the air was friendly, familiar and full of laughter.  I have to admit, it was the opposite of what I was expecting.  For those who have been following the healthcare reform this last year in the UK – one knows how polarized the debate has become among politicians, practitioners and commissioners. And with the very recent announcement from Andrew Lansley, Health Secretary, that the government’s plans to reform the NHS are delayed and the country is in a “listening period,” the conference was definitely a charged and curious environment. 

With the delay in reform, the anticipated structural changes including the development of GP consortia is still under review and Steve Fields of the NHS Future Forum  made it clear it was his intention when submitting the next paper to the Health Secretary and Prime Minister that the document would reflect as much feedback from the practitioners and commissioners as possible. The jury is still out on whether commissioners and practitioners were believers.

The future of commissioning wasn’t the only buzz from the conference – quality standards and technological improvements were some of the words that I wish I had a penny for each time I heard!

NICE has just launched a new platform called NICE Pathways which is a great tool that simplifies otherwise complicated and confusing care pathways.  NICE has also created a new database NHS Evidence which offers access to authoritative clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice through an online portal.

Futhermore, NICE quality standards were discussed in detail by Care Quality Commission (CQC) and how the group will work with NICE to continue to improve its measurement and evaluation of standards across all healthcare providers in the UK

And this was just on Day 1…more to come from myself and Nigel on Day 2 at the conference and what it means for us as communicators

If you want a sneak peek – there was lots of discussion on how NICE and the life sciences industry can work better together, more on value based pricing and the new evaluation pathway for new technologies, including diagnostics and devices.

Stay tuned for more and please share your thoughts too!

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