Not readily apparent in the government’s revised health plans is another change in the future role of NICE. Previous reports were that it was to be scrapped, then it was to remain but only serving a technical role within the value-based pricing framework, now its role in making recommendations is to remain.
As reported in the FT, Sir Michael Rawlins, NICE’s chairman suggested that the planned change was made for two key reasons. Firstly, industry wanted more certainty about volumes of sales as part of the VBP process – something that is not possible if individual GP consortia make independent decisions. Secondly, GP’s “wanted a ‘blame quango’ to be responsible”.
As the precise process of VBP is still unknown, the process by which NICE will make its recommendations following VBP is unknown. One would suspect that it will simply be a rubber stamping exercise based on whether price is at or below that which is considered good value to the NHS.