The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced that it will be developing nine new quality standards during 2010/11.

The new standards, which have been referred to NICE from the Department of Health following advice from the National Quality Board (NQB), are for the management of: breast cancer; type 1 and 2 diabetes; chronic kidney disease; end-of-life care; glaucoma; depression; chronic heart failure; alcohol dependence (treatment only, not primary prevention or causation); and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

NICE has already produced quality standards on stroke, dementia and venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention.

The Institute describes quality standards as markers of excellent care which set out the structures and processes of care, as well as the best outcomes for patients that the standard is likely to bring about. They are produced collaboratively with the NHS and social care professionals, along with their partners and service users, and are derived from the best available guidance, usually NICE guidance or other sources that have been accredited by NHS Evidence, the on-line portal provided by NICE for health and social care staff which was launched in 2009.

The work of developing quality standards is “central to supporting the government’s vision for an NHS focussed on delivering the best possible outcomes for patients,” says NICE. They enable: health and social care professionals to make decisions about care based on the latest evidence and best practice; patients to understand what service they can expect from their health and social care providers; NHS Trusts to examine, quickly and easily, the clinical performance of their organisation and assess the standards of care they provide; and commissioners to be confident that the services they are providing are high-quality and cost-effective.

Announcing the new topics, Fergus Macbeth, director of NICE’s centre for clinical practice, said they will “focus on outcomes of care, as well as patient experience and cost-effectiveness.”