Even in Ferguson’s Worst Case Scenario, the Cost of Saving One Life From Covid is a Million Pounds

We’re publishing an original piece today by Glen Bishop, the second year maths student at Nottingham University who often writes for Lockdown Sceptics about the shortcomings of the models that SAGE has relied on throughout this crisis. In this piece, he does a back-of-the-envelope calculation to work out how much it has cost the Government to save one life from Covid. Not surprisingly, it is considerably more than the £30,000 per Quality Adjusted Life Year that is the upper limit in the guidance the NHS relies upon when deciding how to allocate resources. Here is an extract:

Financially, the test for rationality of a response to public health is the one used, until the Covid hysteria, by the NHS and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE is the body that decides whether treatments, technologies and medicines are beneficial enough to warrant their cost. The upper limit the NHS and NICE are willing to pay for a treatment yielding one extra quality adjusted life year (QALY) is £30,000. If £30,000 is the accepted limit that can sustainably be spent by society on giving an individual one extra quality year of life, then have lockdowns met this test? Even with Ferguson’s projections, they aren’t even close.

As mentioned, using the 500,000 deaths projection would lead to 372,000 lives having been saved. Conveniently the National Audit Office puts the cost of measures announced by the government by the end of March at £372bn. That would be, as readers will notice, £1 million per life saved. But again, taking QALYs lost per Covid death of seven years gives £143,000.

This is a cost per year of life nearly five times more than the £30,000 the Government previously deemed an upper limit for what was reasonable and sustainable to spend on treatments such as that for children’s cancer medication. Is it the Government’s or Professor Ferguson’s position that protecting somebody from Covid is worth spending five times more than protecting someone from cancer or do they not understand the realities of the policies they are implementing?

Worth reading in full.

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