Patients, the Public and Priorities in Healthcare
A new book on public and patient involvement at NICE has been published. Patients, the Public and Priorities in Healthcare describes NICE's experience in establishing and running its ground-breaking Citizens Council, and encouraging and supporting patients and the public in interacting with NICE's decision making.
Evaluating the cost effectiveness of healthcare relies upon sound scientific and economic appraisal, the basis by which NICE has always operated. It also requires judgement about the values that a society should pursue, and since 1999 NICE has led the way in finding ways to incorporate this societal input.
NICE's flagship scheme has been its Citizens Council. The Council is a group of 30 members of the general public who provide their views on societal and social values that NICE uses to underpin its appraisals and other decisions. The Council first met in Salford in 2002, where the 30 members, picked from over 4000 applicants, included a London taxi driver, a single mum from Tyne and Wear, a retired airline pilot and a local government officer from Middlesex. The question the Council explored at that first meeting was “'What should NICE take into account when making decisions about clinical need?” The Council has met 12 times since then, producing reports on topics as varied as ultra-orphan drugs, patient safety, QALYs and illness severity, and the nature of innovation.
The Citizen's Council has attracted interest from a number of national and international organisations and governments, who are similarly grappling with the issue of how to incorporate social values into healthcare planning. It was this interest that prompted the editors of Patients, the Public and Priorities in Healthcare to put together a collection of articles looking at the past, the present and the future of patient and public involvement at NICE.
“NICE's guiding principle has always been to make sure that anyone affected by our decisions can play a part in making those decisions,” says one of the book's editors, Professor Littlejohns. “As well as representatives from the clinical, industry and charity sectors, an important voice is that of those who ultimately ‘pay' for the NHS; the public, the taxpayer, the potential patient. We're immensely proud of the way in which we've continually found new ways to incorporate this vital aspect in our work, in particular the very successful Citizens Council. For the first time we've pulled together the information available on our website and other reports into one book, that not only describes our successes but also what we have learnt from involving patients and the public and how we can improve in the future.”
'Patients, the Public and Priorities in Healthcare' is published by Radcliffe Publishing
10 December 2009
This page was last updated: 18 January 2010