Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Peter Homa, Chief Executive, The Commission for Health Improvement (NC 29)

  I write as Chief Executive of The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI), and am pleased to contribute towards the Health Committee's deliberations on NICE.

  CHI became operational in April 2000 and has a close, effective working relationship with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. CHI's overarching aim is to help bring about demonstrable improvement in the quality of NHS patient care throughout England and Wales. This is achieved through the following four statutory functions:

    —  Running a four year programme of clinical governance reviews or inspections of statutory NHS organisations in England and Wales.

    —  National Studies. CHI reviews progress with the implementation of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance, national service frameworks and, where required, other NHS priorities. The aim is to help improve NHS patient and reduce inappropriate variation in provision.

    —  Investigation into major NHS failures to help ensure, as far as possible, that lessons are learned to avoid the risk of repetition.

    —  To provide advice and guidance on clinical governance. CHI undertakes this responsibility in partnership with other organisations including the Modernisation Agency.

  It should be emphasised that creating a new statutory organisation such as NICE and CHI is, in itself, a major undertaking that has to be simultaneously achieved with the design and delivery of far reaching work programmes.

  As you are aware, NICE is an entirely new endeavour with responsibility for providing important advice and guidance across England and Wales. The progress that has been achieved by NICE is, I judge, impressive. This is all the more so given the relatively modest resources available to the Institute to undertake its extensive range of activities. CHI's future work including clinical governance reviews and National Studies will assess the extent to which NICE guidance is routinely and consistently implemented across England and Wales. The Secretary of State recently, and very helpfully, issued direction to the NHS that NICE guidance must be implemented. This provides additional impetus to help ensure that NHS patients receive consistently high quality care no matter who they are, where they are or when they need it. In essence, my submission to the Health Committee is that NICE has achieved impressive results at the same as establishing its self as a credible Authority. The complexity of establishing a new statutory organisation should not be underestimated. It should also be noted that NICE commands considerable respect and interest from health professionals across the World.

  I hope these comments are helpful. If the Committee would wish any further information I should be pleased to provide it.

January 2002

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