Thursday, May 05, 2005

That's NICE

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), a quango set up to make the tough decisions on NHS priorities that Central Goverment should be responsible but isn't, has decided that to contain NHS spending, treatment for the elderly should be restricted if the risks of treatment are too high or the benefits of treatment are too low. It seems reasonable that if the risks are too high, the treatment should not proceed, however, to deny treatment to the elderly as the benefits are not that great frankly presumably because the benefits will be short term only is quite outrageous. However, it does highlight a fundamental problem of the NHS. As treatment is free at the point of use, no one has to consider the costs v. the benefits of any treatment as the individual does not pay for their treatment. Ironically, whilst you may be too old for treatment, NICE wants conditions that they suggest are "self-inflicted" such as through smoking or over eating continue to be treated as before. What happens if you are a 95 year old smoker with lung cancer!?!

Tough luck if you have paid your taxes over the years and in your dotage, you need an operation that could keep you alive a couple more months. Far better to be irresponsible and be a burden on the NHS when you are younger!!

No wonder the Government is happy to wash it's hands of such decisions and pass such responsibility to an unelected and unaccountable quango.


lascivious said...

Yet again I see we are posting on the same subject :)

Snafu said...