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NICE set to be given sweeping new powers under Darzi review

By Lilian Anekwe

NICE is expected to be given a funding boost and expanded powers in Lord Darzi's review of the NHS, due to be published next week.

NICE chairman Sir Michael Rawlins, interviewed this morning as part of the BBC's programming to mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS, said he had had to make 'a lot of noise' in order to secure the extra cash – but that he was confident the Government had listened and expected an announcement as part of Lord Darzi's review.

The extra funding will be ploughed into producing guidelines for the treatment of childhood diseases, and rare cancer, including brain tumours.

Sir Michael said: He said: ‘We are proposing to the government that they invest much more heavily in our guidelines programme, so we can do a whole lot of further guidelines.

‘This will mean we can considerably improve the quality of care patients get from the NHS.'

Sir Michael also spoke about the ongoing debate concerning top-up payments for private treatments patients are denied on the NHS. Ministers are currently reviewing whether to overturn a ban on top-up treatments and allow patients to access private treatments alongside those offered by the NHS.

He said: ‘On a superficial level, it appears to be indefensible. However, it is complicated and it really does need to be aired openly.

‘There has been a tradition of co-payments for many years. If you have a baby through IVF, the NHS then looks after you when you're pregnant and delivers the child.

‘On the other hand, if you buy your own anti-cancer drug and then that causes a nasty side-effect which requires an admission to an intensive care unit - who covers the cost of that?

‘It is a political decision that parliament should decide, on behalf of people who use and pay for the NHS.'

Lord Darzi: set to expand NICE's powers Lord Darzi: set to expand NICE's powers

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