HC Deb 12 March 1996 vol 273 cc588-9W
Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that services in the health service are based on the latest medical techniques. [18978]

Mr. Horam

Scientific evidence should provide the foundation for the planning and provision of effective health care. The national health service research and development programme, which began in 1991, has made substantial progress in increasing the knowledge base about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of NHS services. The health technology assessment part of the programme provides research-based evidence on the costs and effectiveness across a range of interventions performed throughout the NHS.

The next step is to bridge the gap between research-based knowledge and routine clinical practice. Improving the effectiveness of clinical services is one of the medium-term priorities in the planning and priorities guidance for the NHS. On 10 January, the NHS executive published promoting clinical effectiveness, it sets out the resources available to health authorities, NHS trusts and clinicians responsible for developing strategies for clinical effectiveness and suggests ways in which resources may be put to best use. Copies of the booklet are available in the Library.