At the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2014, a resolution was adopted on Health intervention and technology assessment in support of universal health coverage. Prof David Haslam, Chair of NICE, representing the UK Mission Geneva, addressed the Assembly during a panel session on the role of priority-setting in universal health coverage, alongside counterparts from Thailand, Iran, Ethiopia and the World Health Organisation. The resolution called on Member States to develop and strengthen national and regional capacities for priority-setting, and for the WHO to support these efforts. WHO Director General, Dr Margaret Chan, attended the session and made supportive remarks about the work of NICE, which was named as a “resource organisation” for health technology assessment.
Prof Haslam, describing NICE’s role in making decisions on behalf of the NHS in consideration of social values and best available evidence on cost-effectiveness, said:
“Every pound can only be spent once. If we spend it unwisely, on costs that cannot be justified, then we risk harming other people whose care will be adversely affected… It is vital that priority setting is an evidence-informed, procedurally fair process that defines what will be covered through universal health coverage.”
The WHO is a key partner for iDSI and NICE International:
“Our approach aligns closely with the draft resolution on health intervention and technology assessment in support of universal health coverage. We are committed to working with WHO, the regional and country offices to make the resolution a reality around the globe.”
Prof Haslam thanked the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, and the Rockefeller Foundation for supporting the international Decision Support Initiative (iDSI, www.idsihealth.org), a multidisciplinary platform led by NICE International and which aims to help low- and middle-income countries achieve universal health coverage through active priority-setting.
Closing his speech, Prof Haslam said:
“The use of evidence helps us make judicious choices that in turn can make huge differences to millions of people globally. People we will never meet, but who deserve to reap the benefits of medical science.”