New NICE quality standards published on chronic heart failure


NICE published, on 30 June 2011, quality standards for the assessment, diagnosis and clinical management of chronic heart failure in adults, adding to the bank of quality standards already completed. 

Developed from the best available evidence, NICE quality standards are the only healthcare standards that apply nationally in England. They aim to define what quality care is by providing patients, carers and the public, healthcare professionals, commissioners and service providers with clear, easy to understand definitions of high-quality healthcare.

NICE quality standards will play a key role in the NHS Outcomes Framework, an overview of aims and objectives in improving patient outcomes in the NHS.

Heart failure affects about one in every 100 people in the UK, rising to one in every 15 for those aged 75 and over. According to the National Heart Failure Audit 2010, around 30% of patients admitted to hospital for heart failure die within a year of their hospital admission.

The quality standard on chronic heart failure features 13 statements that define high quality patient care. These include offering people with stable chronic heart failure and no precluding condition or device a supervised, group exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programme that includes education and psychological support. It also states that people admitted to hospital because of chronic heart failure are provided with a personalised management plan that is shared with them, their carer(s) and their GP. The standard also states that people with moderate to severe chronic heart failure, and their carer(s), have access to a heart failure specialist and a palliative care service.

“We are very pleased to be publishing this quality standard for chronic heart failure. They add to the bank of standards already available, which we hope will play an important role in improving patient care and outcomes for this very serious conditions,” Fergus Macbeth, director, Centre for Clinical Practice, NICE, said.

“For many people, chronic heart failure can be an incredibly debilitating condition, so it is vital they receive the best possible treatment and care. Having high quality standards in place will no doubt play an integral part in helping medical staff better diagnose and manage this condition, and drive improvements in care for patients,” Peter Weissberg, medical director, British Heart Foundation, said.

The new quality standard is available on