Move to end treatment roll-out delay
Published on 29 August 2012 11:30 AM
The Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging NHS hospitals to roll out innovative care methods and medicines as soon as they are available in an effort to unify treatments and services across the UK.
It is hoped that this will be done by making hospitals that drag their heels in adopting new treatments, as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), explain the hold-up to their patients.
Under the plans, patients will be able to see comparative results that reveal how long it takes each NHS trust to offer new care methods and medicines.
At present, one Primary Care Trust (PCT) might offer a new service and treatment as soon as it is available, while another might take longer to implement the change.
The DOH said that under the scheme, which is expected to come into effect in autumn, hospitals will have 'no excuse not to provide the latest NICE-approved drugs and treatments'.
'Three-quarters of trusts were ignoring IVF guidance'
Lists detailing how it takes each NHS organisation to provide various treatments will be readily available in the hope of ensuring each organisation offers a treatment or procedure such as IVF as quickly as the next.
This comes after it emerged that nearly three-quarters of NHS trusts were ignoring NICE guidance to offer infertile couples three chances at IVF, while some stopped funding treatment altogether. The study, from a cross-party group of MPs, found PCTs placed strict restrictions on who could access IVF treatment on the NHS.
Some of NICE's most recent guidance, recommending an extended time to administer a clot-busting drug to treat stroke patients, for example, will soon have to be taken on by all hospitals.
Health minister: 'We are determined to drive up standards'
Health minister Paul Burstow said: 'Patients have a right to drugs and treatments that have been approved by NICE.
'This new regime will be a catalyst for change - we are determined to eradicate variation and drive up standards for everyone.
'NHS organisations must make sure the latest NICE-approved treatments are available in their area, and if they are not, then they will now be responsible for explaining why not.
'Being transparent with data like this is the hallmark of a 21st-century NHS. It is a fundamental tool to help healthcare professionals improve patient care."
Copyright Press Association 2012