NICE treatment?3rd December 2006
NICE, (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), set up to improve care is still perpetuating the post-code lottery, and in some cases outdated care, argues Dr Sarah Jarvis, a leading GP, in the Daily Mail.
NICE decisions are not always as impartial as they seem, recommending targets for treatment that are sometimes six years out of date. There is a focus on cost cutting rather than helping doctors do the best for their patients, and Committees set up to consider drugs may not always have the right expertise. Quality of Life calculations (QALY) also show that NICE treats certain drugs differently, she says - could this be due to a bias against the elderly? We need a more transparent process to be sure this isn't true, she suggests. The post-code lottery is still alive and kicking, with different PCTs having different attitudes to drugs which are not NICE approved. As a GP "with ten years of clinical training and 16 years' experience" it is "not acceptable is that I should be told what I can do on the basis of outdated information." concludes Dr Jarvis.
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