Opportunity Costs of Implementing NICE Decisions in NHS Wales

Karlsberg Schaffer, S., Sussex, J., Hughes, D. and Devlin, N.

Research Paper
June 2014

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This new research from the OHE examines how Local Health Boards (LHBs) in Wales adjust spending to meet the statutory requirement of providing access to technologies recommended by NICE within three months after NICE publishes a Technology Appraisal (TA). Based on interviews with medical and/or finance directors of the seven Wales LHBs, the study covers the period from October 2010 through March 2013. The authors find that: ‘Services may be displaced as part of a response to the cumulative impact of all types of cost pressures, including cost-increasing health technologies newly recommended by NICE, but such displacements were not direct responses to the publication of individual NICE TAs.’ Instead, cost pressure from new NICE TAs were likely to be accommodated at least in part by greater efficiency and increased expenditure.