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NICE focusing on saving money

13th April 2010

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has declared it will now tell the health service how to save money, rather than how to spend it.

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The change will come as part of an effort to make savings within the NHS and NICE has already pinpointed £600 million that the health service could save.

The watchdog said the highest savings (£250 million) could be made by offering cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression and anxiety.

£223 million in savings could be achieved by using new medication to treat high blood pressure, as new drugs initially cost more but have more long-term benefits.

NICE said £107 million could be saved if contraceptive injections or implants were used instead of contraceptive pills, as the cost of abortion or pregnancy from failure to take the pill correctly was much higher.

The watchdog also identified savings of £14 million for Alzheimer's disease, £3.5 million each for flu, coughs and colds and prostate cancer, and £1.3 million for breast cancer.

Sir Andrew Dillion told The Independent: "We have to show that NICE is just as relevant over the next five years as it has been over the last 10."

"We have told our guidance groups they need to look very hard for savings and to emphasise them. We will go through all the advice and look at the threshold for referrals [to hospital] because that's the point at which all the costs of [hospital] care kick in," he added.

 

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