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Friday 28th October 2016

Out with the old ....

9th September 2006

27042006_operating_room.jpgHealth Minister Andy Burnham announced that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will begin a significant new programme of work to help the NHS identify and stop ineffective interventions and make health services more equitable across the country.

The NHS will come under pressure to weed out ineffective and obsolete treatments by the drugs watchdog. Unnecessary tonsillectomies and hysterectomies are said to be costing the NHS £21m a year.

The government is backing the initiative, and said it was not about rationing care to save money but added it was right to stand back to look at the whole picture.

Liam Donaldson, England's Chief Medical Officer said: "As technology advances to expand the range of possible health interventions, it is important that effective therapies to address significant health problems are adopted and that ineffective treatments are abandoned."

NICE said it would be using three techniques to encourage the NHS to cutback on some drugs and technologies; it may make use of its existing guidance process to advise the NHS when not to use treatments if new, better therapies are available; it is also planning to issue reminders about previous guidance, for example on home haemodialysis.  Finally, guides will be produced for managers to help establish benchmarks for treatments in certain areas. A number are already planned covering diabetes and respiratory disease.

The chairman of NICE, Professor Sir Mike Rawlins, added health systems across the world were having to address the  same problem as new treatments were coming on to the market all the time.

Nigel Edwards, Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation said “It is very important to both patients and taxpayers that we spend NHS money wisely. Every penny wasted on ineffective treatments is a penny that could have been better spent on other services for the benefit of patients."

But deputy chairman of the British Medical Association, Sam Everington, said: "We would not want to see a blanket ban imposed on certain treatments since there may be occasions where individual patients, with specific health needs, would necessitate a particular intervention." 

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