What is a life worth?

How do organisations charged with making life or death decisions put a price on life? It may seem a bizarre question but I am certain that it must arise in real situations.
For instance, a local government must make decisions about road improvements. An accident “black spot” may have claimed, on average, a life every other year for the last ten years, but the necessary improvement will cost £50m. Should they spend the money or not?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) must make decisions about life saving treatments versus the NHS budget. This is represented in their “cost-per-QALY analysis” where QALY means “quality adjusted life years”.
Your take on this will inevitably vary, depending in part on your role: tax payer, victim, loved one, patient, &c. It’s worth remembering how swift and unpredictable a change in role can be.


About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in cost, economics, life or death, value and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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