NICE to cut spending by 20% as workload rises

NICE will have to cut spending by 20% over the next two years, despite needing to double the amount of guidance it publishes this year.

The institute will pursue a self-imposed efficiency drive to reduce spending by one pound in five, following meetings with the coalition government’s new health ministerial team.

NICE will look to cut 10% of its spending in 2010/11, followed by a further 10% in 2011/12.

But NICE also plans to double the amount of guidance it issues, from about 100 publications in 2009/10, to 200 in 2010/11.

Speaking at a media briefing in London this week, NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said this would be a ‘significant increase’ to the institute’s output.

He acknowledged that the NHS had been asked to make cuts and said it was prudent that the institute did so too. But he said efficiency cuts would not be allowed to affect the rigour of NICE’s decisions.

From this year, NICE will issue guidance on diagnostic and medical devices guidance, as well as NHS Evidence Accreditation decisions.

In addition to the new work, NICE will produce 150 quality standards over the next few years, as outlined in the NHS White Paper. In June three such standards were outlined, for dementia, stroke and prevention of venous thromboembolism.

The previous government increased NICE’s budget from £63m in 2009/10 to £74m this year to account for the extra work, although this was 3% lower than initial budgets.

 Click here to view health White Paper 2010 news and analysis
Stephen Robinson

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