Final Report > Recommendations > Care of an appropriate standard
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Care of an appropriate standard
- One body should be responsible for co-ordinating all action relating to the setting, issuing and keeping under review of national clinical standards: this should be NICE, suitably structured so as to give it the necessary independence and authority.
- Once the recommended system is in place, only NICE should be permitted to issue national clinical standards to the NHS. The DoH (as the headquarters of the NHS) while issuing, for example, National Service Frameworks and supplementary guidance, should not be able to rescind or detract from the standards issued by NICE.
- NICE should pursue vigorously its current policy of involving as wide a community as possible, including the public, patients and carers, in the work to develop and keep under review clinical standards. In particular, the special expertise of the Royal Colleges and specialist professional associations should be harnessed and supported. Account should also be taken of the expertise of the senior management of the NHS.
- National standards of clinical care should reflect the commitment to patient-centred care and thus in future be formulated from the perspective of the patient. The standards should address the quality of care that a patient with a given illness or condition is entitled to expect to receive from the NHS. The standards should take account of the best available evidence. The standards should include guidance on how promptly patients should get access to care. They should address the roles and responsibilities of the various healthcare professionals who will care for the patient. They should take account of the patient's journey from primary care, into the hospital system (if necessary), and back to primary and community care, and of the necessary facilities and equipment.
- Such standards for clinical care as are established should distinguish clearly between those which are obligatory and must be observed, and those to which the NHS should aspire over time.
- A timetable over the short, medium and long term should be published, and revised periodically, for the development of national clinical standards, so that the public may be consulted and kept aware of those areas of healthcare which are covered by such standards and those which will be covered in the future. Target dates should be set by which clinical standards will have been prepared for all major conditions and illnesses.
- Resources, and any necessary statutory authority, must be made available to NICE to allow it to perform its role of developing, issuing and keeping under review national clinical standards.
- Standards of clinical care which patients are entitled to expect to receive in the NHS should be made public.
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