12 April 2017

Finding the right balance Paul Chrisp, programme director, medicines and technologies programme at NICE

Paul describes how making changes to long-standing methods in the NHS can help to make room for more effective approaches.

Paul Chrisp NICE on medicines

Most of us have walked past a shop window, seen something we’d like to buy and then been disappointed when we realise we can’t afford it.

But what if you sold some of the items you no longer use? You might then free up some money to buy that new product after all.

Although it’s not as simple, a similar logic can be applied to how we approach medicine and technology funding in the NHS.

More people are living with long term conditions, and the demand for medicines is increasing. Thankfully this is driving the development of new treatments, but unfortunately innovation can come with a high cost.

Immense financial pressures mean commissioners and managers within the NHS have to make increasingly tough decisions.

Recently the news was dominated by reports of NHS England reviewing a list of products considered to be ‘low value’ but currently available on the NHS.

The products, which include common remedies like omega 3 fish oils, and rubs for joint pain were added to a list of treatments suggested to no longer warrant NHS funding. This is because of lack of evidence supporting their effectiveness.

Other products, such as gluten free foods or travel vaccines were also added to the re-think list because they are considered to be a low priority for funding.

The debate about what the NHS can, or should fund is likely to get louder. And NICE need to have a voice in this conversation.

We should help make sure the changes ahead will allow new, important medicines to be considered for use. We can’t afford not to.

1 comment

  • beware of false economies. Stopping funding travel vaccines will mean more people may go abroad without protection and could require more hospital resource on return.

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