Treating Lifestyles

OK, so the NHS won\’t discriminate against you because of your lifestyle choices.

A personal lifestyle choice must not be used as a reason to deny someone treatment on the NHS, Andrew Dillon chief executive of the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

Only if that lifestyle choice means that the treatment won\’t work can they do so. Which, given that smoking now causes everything, won\’t make much difference.

However, here, they\’re lying.

Mr Dillon said the Citizens Council had also rejected any notion of Nice weighting their decisions in favour of the young over the old or those in work over those not.

He added: "Their response was that a year of life at age three was worth just as much as a year of life aged 83." When a group of schoolchildren were asked their response was the same, he said.

The proposed NHS Constitution says that patients have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by Nice and if your doctor believes they are appropriate for you.

NICE of course approves drugs and treatments on the basis of quality adjusted life years. There is thus built into the system a bias in favour of drugs to treat childhood diseases and not those of old age.

Plus, of course, there is discrimination in such things as transplants: the 83 year old ain\’t gonna get the new heart when the 23 year old also matches the tissue.

While I also think that this bias is correct and sensible, it does mean that the man speaks with forked tongue.

2 thoughts on “Treating Lifestyles”

  1. “83 year old ain’t gonna get the new heart when the 23 year old also matches the tissue”

    Isn’t that due to the fact that the 23 year old has a greater life expectancy, post transplant, and hence more years?

    Tim adds: Sure, that ups the QuALY….or lowers the cost of the treatment when measured in QuALYs, whichever way round you want to put it.

  2. When I was being appraised for a new heart and it turned out I didn’t need one any more, the nurse said “Just as well; with your height and blood group you’d never have got one anyway.”

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