The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which has been widely criticised for banning drugs from NHS use as too expensive, squandered £4.5million on ‘communications’ last year.
My first question would be why on earth do they need a communications budget? Surely their recommendations are made available to the NHS trusts already?
Just who are they trying to reach for £4.5 million in one year? For that price the idiot in charge, Sir Michael Rawlins, could use his mobile phone to call anyone in the UK and remain on the phone for 42 years! Or even call everyone in the UK and talk to them for a minute!
This was £1.1million more than the £3.4million the controversial organisation spent on assessing new medicines.
This is of course made all the more shocking as this is the group that plays God and decides who lives, and who dies, purely as a budget calculation.
The rest is spent on such things as salaries – NICE’s annual report for 2006/07 revealed that wages accounted for almost 37 per cent of the budget – accommodation (eight per cent) and external contracts. Almost 300 full-time staff are employed in London and Manchester.
It a shame that they don’t take such a miserly approach when it comes to PR, or their own wages.
The watchdog looks at whether drugs are cost-effective for the NHS, with the annual cost threshold set between £20,000-£30,000, above which they are considered too expensive.
Unsurprisingly the average wage in NICE is £40,000, so ‘too expensive’ is clearly a benchmark that they don’t apply to their own ‘services’.
NICE should be made up of citizens who do it simply as volunteers, not the cronies who are after honours and knighthoods. After all this is who it concerns, not the elite who can afford private health care anyway.