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2014 National Retired Members Conference
24 June 2014

Conference notes that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has rejected a proposal from the Department of Health that its assessment of new medicines should include the evaluation of wider societal benefit (WSB).

Wider Societal Benefit is a measure of the impact of a treatment on the extent to which people living with an illness or decease produce or consume resources. This means that for some patients they will receive more from society than they are able to give back. Inevitably this will take age into account to some degree.

The Institute has however put forward an alternative approach of wider societal impact WSI). This does not rely on calculations of production and consumption but instead assesses the shortfall of people’s ability to contribute to society as a result of their disease or condition and takes into account the impact of a condition on people’s ability to interact in and contribute to wider society.

Conference further notes that a public consultation on this latter proposal has taken place.

Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the National Health Committee to oppose any attempt to introduce WSB or WSI and to campaign for a return to the principle on which the National Health Service was founded, namely that all treatment, including medicines, should be free and available to all.