NHS Workforce and Service Development
Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day]
Andrew Lansley (Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Health; South Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
I was endeavouring to explain something to my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch, with which he may or may not agree. NICE has to do an exhaustive job of trying to assess whether it is in the interests of the NHS that a treatment be provided because it is both clinically effective and cost-effective. That process has been extremely useful because it has increasingly exposed what is cost-effective and clinically effective about Alzheimer's drugs. They are effective for patients, especially for those with moderate and severe Alzheimer's—dementia. However, in respect of mild dementia, they are not regarded as sufficiently effective to be a treatment that should be recommended on the NHS. Frankly, it is my opinion that in an independent national health service such decisions must be made independently and we must ensure that there is a correct statutory framework. On this matter, one important issue remains in my mind. Because of the nature of the regulations prescribed by the Government, the benefits that NICE can take into account apply only to the national health service and to publicly funded social care. The benefits to carers and their families beyond that point cannot be taken into account. We must look into that—and that might, of course, have a bearing on the outcome of any appraisal undertaken by NICE.