The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence or NICE is a Special Health Authority of the National Health Service in England and Wales. It was set up as the "National Institute for Clinical Excellence" in 1999, and on 1 April 2005 joined with the Health Development Agency to become the new "National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence" (still abbreviated as NICE).
NICE publishes clinical appraisals of whether particular treatments should be considered worthwhile by the NHS. These appraisals are based primarily on cost-effectiveness.
NICE was established in an attempt to defuse the so-called postcode lottery system of healthcare in England and Wales, where treatments that were available depended upon the NHS Trust area in which the patient happened to live. However its role in rationing treatment has led to NICE becoming a controversial body, which has gained a high profile internationally as a potential role model for the explicit prioritization of health services.
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