NICE Guidance
NICE Guidance

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • NICE Guidance
  • What is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and what does it do?
  • What are the NICE clinical guidelines?
  • What is the relevance of the NICE clinical guidelines to practice?
  • How do I search the NICE guidelines and use the guidelines in practice?

What is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and what does it do?

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is a non-departmental public body established by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It was originally established in 1999 as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and in 2005 became the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

NICE provides guidance for health, public health and social care practitioners, develops quality standards and provides information services across health and social care. There are three main areas in which NICE provides guidance, namely technology appraisals, clinical guidelines and interventional procedures, of which clinical guidelines are the most commonly seen in medico-legal practice.

What are the NICE clinical guidelines?

The NICE clinical guidelines are recommendations as to the appropriate treatment of specific diseases and conditions. These guidelines cover a wide range of conditions including cardiovascular, cancer, ear, nose, throat, eye, gynaecology, mental health, dental, musculoskeletal and respiratory conditions, injuries, accidents and wounds.

Although it is not mandatory for healthcare professionals to follow the NICE clinical guidelines, they may be asked to justify why they departed from such guidance.  Breach of a NICE guideline does not necessarily equate to a breach of a legal duty.

Each published guideline is reviewed every three years to determine whether it should be updated.