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Clinical Effectiveness

Published: 4 July 2019
From: Department of Health

Clinical Effectiveness

Clinical effectiveness is a key component of patient safety. The integration of best evidence in service provision, through clinical effectiveness processes, promotes healthcare that is up to date, effective and consistent.

Clinical effectiveness processes include guidelines, audit and practice guidance.

Read more about about clinical effectiveness.

National Clinical Effectiveness Committee

The National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC) was established by the Minister for Health in September 2010. Since January 2017, It is chaired by Dr Karen Ryan.

There are 3 subgroups for the NCEC:

  • clinical audit
  • clinical guideline methodology
  • education and training

View a map here or see below for more details.

Learn more about the Committee.

Clinical Audit Subgroup

The NCEC Clinical Audit Subgroup is Chaired by Mr Ian Callanan and facilitated by Dr Sarah Condell of the Clinical Effectiveness Unit.

It meets 2-3 times per year.

View the Subgroup's Terms of Reference and Membership.

Clinical Guideline Methodology Subgroup

The Clinical Guideline Methodology Subgroup is chaired by Prof Declan Devane and facilitated by Ms Pauline Dempsey of the Clinical Effectiveness Unit.

Click here to see its Terms of Reference and Membership.

Education and Training Subgroup

The NCEC subgroup on Education and Training is chaired by Professor Dermot Malone and facilitated by Dr Niamh O’Rourke of the Clinical Effectiveness Unit.

Its Terms of Reference and Membership can be viewed here.

A report of teaching Evidence Based Practice was commissioned by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit on the advice of the NCEC Education and Training Subgroup. The full report and a summary of the report are available.

A report on the development of a Competency Framework for Clinical Effectiveness was commissioned by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit. The full report and a summary of the report are available.

Further information

View the Prioritisation of National Clinical Guidelines (March 2015) and the Framework for Endorsement of National Clinical Guidelines (April 2015) to see how the NCEC conducts the business of prioritisation and quality assurance. The department held a public consultation on how it prioritises National Clinical Guideliness The report of that exercise can be read here.

National Clinical Guidelines

National Clinical Guidelines are systematically developed statements, based on a thorough evaluation of the evidence, to assist practitioner and service users’ decisions about appropriate healthcare for specific clinical circumstances across the entire clinical system.

The aim of National Clinical Guidelines is to provide guidance and standards for improving the quality, safety and cost effectiveness of healthcare in Ireland.

View the list of National Clinical Guidelines in Development

View the collection of National Clinical Guidelines

Public Involvement Framework

Public Involvement in Clinical Effectiveness Processes strengthens public participation in healthcare decision-making and brings public knowledge and experience to these processes.

Clinical Effectiveness Processes include the development of National Clinical Guidelines (developing good standards) and National Clinical Audits (developing strong review practices) to drive improvements in healthcare outcomes.

Learn more about the Public Involvement Framework.

National Clinical Audit

Under its Terms of Reference the NCEC has the role of prioritising and quality assuring National Clinical Audit.

The NCEC approved the Prioritisation and Quality Assurance for National Clinical Audit and the Framework for Endorsement of National Clinical Audit.

We held a public consultation on our draft Prioritisation and Quality Assurance Process for National Clinical Audit.

The NCEC audit function continues to evolve. The National Office for Clinical Audit (NOCA) helped us do an initial test of the templates that were developed for these NCEC processes, using their Major Trauma Audit as the applicant. The Major Trauma Audit was launched in December 2016 as the 1st NCEC National Clinical Audit. The National Radiology Quality Improvement Programme, managed by the RCPI, is currently assisting with final template testing.

Clinical Practice Guidance

Recommendation 19 of the HSE Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise Perinatal Deaths stated that “the NCEC should develop standards for clinical practice guidance”. This is to ensure consistency of approach and utilisation of appropriate methodology to develop clinical practice guidance nationally.

The NCEC Standards for Clinical Practice Guidance were launched in November 2015 and are available here.

The standards were developed by the NCEC, informed by a systematic literature review, advice from an Expert Advisory Group and feedback from a public consultation process.

The objectives are to:

  • publish standards which will provide a standardised nomenclature and methodology for the development of evidence-based clinical practice guidance nationally
  • ensure consistency of approach and minimise duplication in clinical practice guidance
Supporting documents

The systematic literature review is available here and the public consultation report on the Draft Clinical Practice Guidance Standards is available here.

Learn about the National Review of Specialist Cardiac Services.

Public Consultations

These public consultations are now closed and reported on:

Please note: Submissions received may be made available under the Freedom of Information Acts and as such may be published on the Department of Health website.

Resources and Learning

Learn more about the Clinical Effectiveness Unit on our dedicated Resources and Learning page.

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