The chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has criticised the government for not taking account of its guidance when drawing up the quality and outcomes framework.

The chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has criticised the government for not taking account of its guidance when drawing up the quality and outcomes framework.

Andrew Dillon told a fringe meeting of the Conservative party conference in Bournemouth that NICE and its Scottish counterpart, NHS Quality Improvement, had written to the Department of Health to request that the revised QOF incentives reward GPs for adhering to NICE guidance.

Mr Dillon would not be drawn on which of the existing QOF points were not based on the best evidence, but he did say his organisation 'had concerns' about not being consulted.

'Guidance that we produce ought to be seen as a primary reference point,' he told HSJ. 'It would be best practice.

'We want to ensure the DoH review takes NICE guidance into account when they are drawing up the next QOF framework.'

And he said such a move would encourage GPs to adhere to NICE guidance.

Mr Dillon also revealed that NICE, which took over the Health Development Agency as part of last year's arm's-length review, had repeatedly argued that it should also take over the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination. The body, which advises ministers on the efficacy of different jabs, is currently based within the DoH.

'We want to persuade ministers to transfer it because we believe we have the methodology, skills and profile to help them in their work,' said Mr Dillon.

'But so far ministers are keeping hold of that in the DoH, although they would welcome the use of our analytical skills from time to time.'

He announced that next year NICE would for the first time bring out a document aimed at employers rather than health professionals. In June it will publish guidance for businesses on the implications of the banning of smoking in public spaces and how they can encourage employees to quit.

Conservative health spokesman Dr Andrew Murrison told the meeting that NICE would be retained under a Cameron administration and its remit on public health would be extended.

He also promised that the body would be given more independence to ensure its decisions are not overridden for party political reasons, as happened when health secretary Patricia Hewitt became involved in the row over breast cancer drug Herceptin.