The House of Commons Health Committee has announced that it is to hold a "short" inquiry into the work of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The term of office of NICE's current chair, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, ends on March 2013, and the Department of Health has indicated that it will shortly be advertising to appoint his successor. The Health Committee will then hold a pre-appointment hearing for the government's preferred candidate for the new chair towards the end of the year.

In advance of that hearing, the Committee says it plans to hold a short enquiry into the work of NICE, examining the way the Institute has discharged its current functions and looking forward to the changes in its role that will come into effect from April 1 next year. At that date, its name will change to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and its status will change to that of an executive non-departmental public body.

The Health Committee is now calling for written submissions on the work of NICE, and in particular is interested in:

- NICE's role in relation to evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of drugs and other clinical interventions, through medical technology appraisals, including how its role will be affected by the intended introduction of value-based pricing for drugs purchased by the NHS;

- the role of NICE Quality Standards in the new NHS system architecture, in particular the status of NICE guidelines in determination of commissioning priorities; 

- the continuing role of NICE clinical guidelines on treatment for specific conditions in improving the quality of healthcare, in particular in the context of analysis of effectiveness of established treatment procedures and review of variations of outcome;

- the effect of the new public health system architecture on NICE's continued role in respect of public health guidance; and

- what effect NICE's new responsibilities in relation to evaluating social care interventions might have on its work overall and how this will relate to the integration of health and social care services.

The deadline for submitting written evidence to the Committee is noon on Monday October 29 2012.

- On July 17, Sir Michael was inaugurated as President of the Royal Society of Medicine, taking over from Professor Parveen Kumar. During his term as President, he says that he will focus on: - seeking dialogue with professions with whom the RSM does not yet fully engage, including clinical pharmacists, statisticians and health economists; - encouraging greater involvement with the RSM's overseas members, particularly in the USA where the Society has over 1,300 Fellows: and - developing the RSM's Global Health Programme to ensure its future sustainability.