Social Values and Health Priority Setting at UCL


UCL and King's Summer School on Social Values and Clinical Commissioning

10 October 2012

In September, UCL and King's hosted a two day summer school on Social Values and Clinical Commissioning in the UK, attended by health policy practitioners and researchers. Clinical commissioning groups in the UK will soon acquire responsibility for commissioning health services for their local populations, and when they do, they will face familiar problems in healthcare priority setting, including the tension between meeting need and maximising benefit, identifying exceptional cases and securing overall fairness. In addition, a new value-based pricing regime is due to come into effect for pharmaceuticals in the UK in 2014.

The purpose of the summer school was to enable participants to identify the key challenges of social values that may arise in the new regime, and to consider how clinical commissioners might deal with those challenges. For example, how will values like justice and solidarity fare in clinical commissioning? Will clinical commissioning meet standards of public justifiability and relevance? One of the key challenges that emerged from discussions amongst participants was around accountability, and in particular the complexity and numbers of the parties to whom commissioners may be accountable, and for what. An accountability 'matrix' reflecting this can be downloaded here.

The summer school featured a combination of lectures and interactive seminars, with a focus on practical examples and scenarios, and introduced participants to the case catalogue and analytical framework being developed by the Social Values and Health Priority Setting project. More information about the summer school is available here.