J Med Ethics 38:258-262 doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100129
  • Law, ethics and medicine
  • Paper

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence appraisal and ageism

Editor's Choice
  1. Mary Docherty3
  1. 1Department of Public Health, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2NICE, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE, Midicity Place, 71 High Holborn, London SW4 9HF, UK; peter.littlejohns{at}
  1. Contributors AS and PL instigated the paper. ND undertook the analysis of relevant legislation and all authors contributed to the writing of the paper. AS is the guarantor.

  • Received 28 July 2011
  • Revised 25 November 2011
  • Accepted 28 November 2011
  • Published Online First 2 January 2012


The requirements of the UK Equality Act 2010 and some high profile criticism for using a potentially ageist methodology have prompted the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to assess the processes and methodology it uses to make appraisal decisions. This paper argues that NICE has established rigorous systems to protect against ageist decisions, has no track record of ageism and is well placed to meet the requirements of new UK equality legislation.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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