The UK drugs rationing body has today taken on the new function of advising the NHS on its medication use.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has accepted the functions of the National Prescribing Centre (NPC).
The NPC’s activities will be retained and will become part of a new work programme within NICE’s Evidence and Practice Directorate, which is led by NICE Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Gillian Leng.
The merger was approved by the Department of Health last October as part of its plans to restructure the NHS.
Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE said: “The NPC and NICE already share a history of working closely together in helping ensure medicine usage across the NHS is high quality, safe and good value for money.
“This integration is an exciting opportunity for us to build on the important work that we both do in all aspects of medicines management and will further strengthen access to medicines information through NHS Evidence.
“I would like to warmly welcome all NPC colleagues into the NICE family.”
Nel Maskrey, former Director of Evidence-Based Therapeutics at the NPC and now Programme Director of the NPC at NICE said: “Being part of NICE will provide an even stronger alignment of outputs and expertise.
“Within NICE, we intend that our work programme will continue to help health professionals make the best use of medicines to produce informed and desired outcomes for patients, especially in this changing NHS environment.”
The NPC publishes a wide range of resources (including e-learning) and arranges activities and events to support and promote evidence-based medicines management across the NHS, to help improve patient care and service delivery.
It was formed in 1996 by the Department of Health. The programme employs 34 people who are based in Liverpool.