NICE to focus on obesity

The quality standards programme for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be substantially broadened to cover topics affecting public health, including obesity.

NICE will work with experts from Public Health England to initially develop three new public health quality standards.
The standards will cover strategies to prevent obesity in adults and children, reducing tobacco use in the community and preventing harmful alcohol use.

The majority of people in England are currently either overweight or obese, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers and costs the NHS more than £5 billion per year.

The new quality standards will be based on existing public health guidance produced by NICE and will consist of a set of statements designed to drive and measure improvements in healthcare.

They follow the introduction of new public health responsibilities for local authorities which came into effect in April 2013.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE said: “We are very pleased to have been asked to produce public health quality standards.

“They will be a valuable tool for local authorities as they take on their new public health functions, and for Public Health England. By bridging the interface across health, social care and public health, NICE public health quality standards will help support integration across the three sectors.

“They will also ensure that those responsible for commissioning services will have access to the complete picture of what “

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