Even top brass at the U.K.'s cost-effectiveness watchdog were caught flat-footed by news that their agency would be sidelined when government reformers fully implement their overhaul of the National Health Service. Sir Andrew Dillon, chief of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, wrote appraisal committee members to apologize, saying that the agency was "taken by surprise" as news of the agency's future hit over the past few weeks.
Dillon says he's hoping to learn more details soon, but for now wants to reassure the committee that their work continues to be important. In fact, he believes the committee will continue doing what it's always done--assessing the evidence on new treatments--but will stop short of making a definitive yea-or-nay determination. That decision will be left in the hands of local physician consortiums.
Apparently, doctors were surprised by their new role, too. An officer in the British Medical Association told the BBC he wasn't just surprised by the coalition government's reform plans. GP Richard Vautrey said doctors also aren't happy about the technology-assessment role foisted upon them. "[N]obody asked us about this," he said on the air (as quoted by InPharm), adding, "[W]e as GPs do not want to do this."
- read the InPharm piece