Nice And Sign



NICE stands for the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence and SIGN stands for Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network.

Essentially, both these organisations exist to set guidelines for treatment and care for patients and professionals in the NHS in England and Wales (NICE)  and also in Scotland (SIGN) .

We are highlighting them both today because they have lots of resources which might be useful for people who have been affected by head and neck cancers.

The guidelines exist to help patients and also professionals, so you may find that some of the information on the sites is geared towards medical professionals so it has a lot of technical language and can be a little cold.

Some patients have said to us they have found the sheer amount of information and statistics a little overwhelming, so if you are not sure you want to read that kind of information just now , please do not click the links below.

The guidelines for head and cancer for the public can be found here for NICE  and for SIGN can be found here .  What you will find in the guidelines is technical information about the kinds of treatments available, statistics on the number of cases and the rates of mortality, glossary of terms (though you can also find one on our site), information about the types of cancer and about the medics you can expect to treat you.

Below you will find the introductions to both organisations from their websites and some links to parts of the website.

As we said, this is a lot of information available here so if you are fact finding and want to know everything possible about treatments, outcomes, statistics and so on , this is a good place to start.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.

NICE was originally set up in 1999 as the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a special health authority, to reduce variation in the availability and quality of NHS treatments and care.

In 2005, after merging with the Health Development Agency, we began developing public health guidance to help prevent ill health and promote healthier lifestyles. Our name changed to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.


The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) was formed in 1993. Our objective is to improve the quality of health care for patients in Scotland by reducing variation in practice and outcome, through the development and dissemination of national clinical guidelines containing recommendations for effective practice based on current evidence.

The membership of SIGN includes all the medical specialties, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, professions allied to medicine, patients, health service managers, social services, and researchers. The work of SIGN is supported by an Executive based at Elliott House, Hillside Crescent in Edinburgh. Since 1 January 2005 SIGN has been part of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.

SIGN has a programme of evidence-based clinical guidelines – published, in development, or under review – covering a wide range of topics. Many of the SIGN guidelines relate to the NHS priority areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental health.


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