The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is passing on advice to an increasing number of rich as well as poor countries interested in healthcare reform, the head of its international division has told Reuters.

Kalipso Chalkidou told the news agency in an interview that "people in resource-constrained environments all over the world are of course interested in finding the most efficient way of informing their decisions". As such, NICE’s international division has been operating for the past year or so on a non-profit fee-for-service basis.

Ms Chalkidou says that the unit was set up “very much in response to requests, mostly from governments abroad but also from academics and payers, who were interested in our structures, our methodology and processes, and in the actual product – the guidelines we produce". Specifically, NICE has been helping with training and process advice for Estonia's health insurance fund, evaluating a new health technology assessment agency in Thailand, and exploring possible collaborations with the governments of Russia, Jordan, Ghana and Colombia, among others.

It has also had discussions with experts in the USA and been asked by the Chinese government to help shape an investment of more than $120 billion in its healthcare system. Ms Chalkidou told Reuters that "NICE has improved the quality of the discussion” and “amongst policymakers now we can have a much more mature conversation. They openly state the need to prioritise" the treatments that the state should provide.

She concluded by saying that “we are talking about a system where not everybody can get everything that may help them all of the time, irrespective of cost. There is no health system in the world that does not have to address this."