“Nice” is not a word often used in scientific research and when it appears in the UK media, it’s now associated with NICE, National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence.
More often than not this government organisation makes headlines with bad news: the press reports quickly when a drug is not approved for general use by the NHS. Occasionally the news concerns a drug approval, after a long campaign by an individual and their family.
So attending the Global Health 2011 at the BMA, London, made a very NICE change. It was an eye-opener to see that an offshoot of NICE, “NICE International”, is making a real positive difference to health systems in many countries.
Funded solely by their client countries and international donors (World Bank, DFID and IADB, to name a few), NICE International has sent its adviser teams into Latin America, China, Georgia and India to improve clinical practice and help them develop relevant guidelines. These countries may even set up their very own NICE organisation.