The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has welcomed the new health watchdog's tough stance on NHS organisations that ignore its guidance.

NICE deputy chief executive Gillian Leng's comments follow Care Quality Commission chair Baroness Young's pledge to penalise trusts that do not comply with national guidelines on treatments and drugs.

Dr Leng said: "We welcome that firm approach to obeying NICE rules. It will support the monitoring that we see as a really big part of the quality agenda, so non-compliance can be picked up by the CQC."

Trusts were more likely to adopt NICE guidance if they benefited from strong support among clinicians, good leadership and financial balance, she said. A failure to meet NICE standards could often be attributed to clashing local priorities or a lack of available evidence that a particular practice was best.

Web portal

Health minister Lord Darzi's plans for a web portal called NHS Evidence, for clinicians and managers to share best practice, would spread the take-up of NICE guidance, she said.

NICE will lead work in establishing NHS Evidence, filling it with information on clinical care, drugs and research, in addition to help for commissioners in planning care pathways.

Dr Leng, who is also interim chief operating officer for NHS Evidence, said: "It will provide an efficient access point for staff to find out about evidence. We want it to be as easy to use and as used as Google."

NICE is also drafting a menu of evidence-based indicators, to be monitored either at a national level by CQC, or locally, linked to performance incentives.