The influence of social and ethical values on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) technology appraisal: an empirical ethics study

Year of award: 2016


  • Victoria Charlton

    King's College London

Project summary

The primary national body for setting health priorities in the UK is the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which takes into account social and ethical values alongside cost- and clinical-effectiveness when deciding which treatments to recommend for uptake by the NHS. 

The goal of this project is to investigate the role that social and ethical values play in NICE’s decision-making, specifically in its health technology appraisal (HTA) process. I will investigate what social and ethical values – other than cost-effectiveness – NICE explicitly and implicitly invokes and excludes in its technology appraisal process and how it balances these values against one another and against cost-effectiveness when developing its recommendations. I will look at the extent actual practice aligns with stated practice and consider the ethical and policy implications of these findings, and how they might inform future approaches to priority-setting in the NHS. 

Research methods will include literature review, document research, qualitative interviews, direct observation of NICE’s decision-making processes and ethical and policy analysis.