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Patients to get approved treatments three months sooner under new NICE process

The proposals would see the introduction of a “fast track” option for appraising technologies offering good value for money

Patients could benefit from the most cost effective treatments three months sooner, under proposed changes to the way NICE appraises treatments.

The proposals are part of a joint consultation by NICE and NHS England, which would see the introduction of a “fast track” option for appraising technologies offering exceptional value for money.

This would mean treatments that have a likely cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) of up to £10,000 would be dealt with more quickly.

In the proposed process, final guidance would be published by NICE immediately after the treatment receives its licence.

Technologies recommended this way would also be funded by NHS England sooner after NICE publishes its final guidance – within 30 days rather than 90.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: “The pace and scale of innovation in the NHS require NICE and NHS England to collaborate closely to ensure patients are benefiting from faster access to the most cost effective treatments.

“By further streamlining our processes we will ensure treatments that clearly offer exceptional value for money will be available to the patients who need them faster than ever before.

“Where the introduction of a new treatment places a large, immediate demand on NHS budgets, the impact of their introduction on other services has to be taken into account in managing their adoption.”

Dr Jonathan Fielden, NHS England’s director of specialised commissioning and deputy national medical director, said: “This new fast-track process for the most promising and cost effective new technologies will significantly speed up access, making this good news for patients, good for taxpayers and good for those pharmaceutical companies who are willing to work with us and price their products responsibly.

“Our proposals also provide clarity, for the first time, that the NHS is prepared to pay far more for effective highly specialised treatments appraised by NICE.

“These treatments, for patients with very rare conditions, will now qualify for automatic funding at a level that is five times higher than NICE’s current limit.

“On top of this there will also be the added flexibility to negotiate with drug companies on those technologies which are cost effective but have a heftier price tag.”

The consultation on these proposals closes on 13 January 2017.