5 October 2012

First Set of Health and Social Care Quality Standards Referred to NICE

NICE's programme of work is to be significantly extended as it begins developing its first set of health and social care quality standards, which were referred today to the Institute by the Department of Health.

The care and wellbeing of adults and children with autism, and the mental wellbeing of older people in residential care are the first topics quality standards will be developed on.

These standards will be based on accredited guidance, which include NICE clinical guidelines and public health guidance.

Following this, NICE will produce a number of standards on topics where no current health or social care guidance exists.

This means that NICE will first produce new guidance recommendations on these topics before developing the associated quality standards.

The full list of health and social care topics NICE is producing social care standards on includes:

  • Autism in adults
  • Autism in children
  • Child maltreatment
  • The transition between child and adult services
  • The transition between health and social care, including discharge planning, admission avoidance, reducing readmissions and reducing unnecessary bed occupancy
  • Mental wellbeing of older people in residential care
  • Management of physical and mental co-morbidities of older people in community and residential care settings
  • Medicines management in care homes

This new area of work follows the publication of the Care and Support White Paper earlier this year, which set out responsibilities for NICE to develop new standards and guidance to improve the level of social care in England.

As part of our preparation for taking on this new role in April 2013, NICE has already begun a pilot programme for developing social care quality standards using two topics, care of people with dementia and the health and wellbeing of looked-after children and young people. These pilot quality standards will be published in April 2013.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, said: “We welcome these referrals, which mark the government's commitment to NICE's new role of developing guidance and quality standards for the social care sector.

"It's important for health and social care services to work in tandem and the standards we develop will play a vital role in ensuring services are closely aligned to ensure effective, high quality patient care is consistently achieved."

She added: "Having received these referrals, we can now start working with social care organisations and other experts to plan the scope of these standards.

"This will enable us to co-ordinate their development - and any necessary guidance on which these standards will need to be based - as quickly and efficiently as possible once our social care remit formally begins in April 2013."

Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for quality, added: "The Care and Support White Paper set out our plans to drive up the quality of care.

"NICE's new quality standards on social care will be a key driver of this. They will help define what good care and support looks like for commissioners and care providers as well as people using services."

NICE has already produced more than 20 clinical quality standards with another 19 currently in development.