NICE chairman urges patients to be more proactive in seeking treatment as the uptake of approved drugs dips below expectations.
Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has called on patients to position themselves as “equal partners” with their doctors after recent findings suggested some patients were missing out on treatments they were entitled to.
“The fundamental point is it’s your body,” stressed Haslam in a recent interview. “The more you understand about the drugs you are taking, or what you might be able to have, the better you are able to work with your doctor.”
Haslam’s comments followed a recent government report that concluded thousands of patients were not receiving drugs for cancer and other serious conditions despite the medicines having NICE approval, which automatically grants patients a “legal right” to any treatment deemed “clinically appropriate”.
“The take-up [of NICE approved medicines] should be much higher than it currently is,” said Haslam.
During the interview with a national newspaper, Haslam confirmed the rationing body would be investigating the reasons patients were not being prescribed drugs they were entitled to but stressed the vital importance patient attitude played in treatment.
“I think it’s essential for the future of the health service and for the future health of the nation that patients understand their conditions, their treatments, and work with their health advisors so they can have the best care,” he said.
He even went so far as to suggest Brits should behave more like Americans, as his experience working with patients from an air force base showed that “Americans tended to want to know more about their treatment than the British, who tend to be much more ‘thank you, doctor, I will take that’”.