NICE Targets Pregnant Women in Latest “Guidance”
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has issued guidance telling midwives to carry out carbon monoxide tests on pregnant women to find out whether they smoke. “Help” will then be offered if the result is positive.
Adherence to this guidance by midwives is mandatory.
Now I personally do not smoke. My opinion is that it is a pretty foolish thing to do, especially if you are a pregnant woman.
However, NICE was set up to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of new treatments and decide whether they should be offered on the NHS.
The aim was to avoid the “postcode lottery” where a treatment might be available in one area and not in another.
NICE has now completely lost sight of its remit. More than that, it has clearly completely misunderstood the proper role of the State itself. The State is there to provide services to the public. To stretch a point, you might argue that the State can properly provide information, for example about the dangers of smoking, so that people can make up their own minds.
It is not the role of the State to try and mould people’s behaviour, or to put pressure on them to behave in particular ways.
And it is certainly not the role of midwives to act as an anti-smoking gestapo.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, should remind NICE what their role is. Better still, he could abolish NICE completely and save £60 millon to be spent on patient care.
Listen up, you NICE bureaucrats, if you want to act like this, go and live in a country with a political system that is more to your way of thinking. Like North Korea.