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Reading, Writing, And Revalidation

A seasonal cost effectiveness analysis: the last Noel?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 21 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1456
  1. David Isaacs, senior staff specialist (,
  2. Dominic Fitzgerald, senior staff specialistb
  1. a Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia,
  2. b Department of Respiratory Medicine, Children's Hospital at Westmead
  1. Correspondence to: D Isaacs

    Health economists are ideologically opposed to frivolity. It has come to our attention that an annual, quasireligious festival has been held for some years without having been subjected to the rigours of a cost effectiveness analysis. In these sombre days of economic rationalism, such an oversight is unconscionable. The money spent on gifts and wrapping paper, tinsel and turkey is a significant opportunity cost, which might be better spent on improving the health care of the nation. We present a cost effectiveness analysis of Christmas.

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    Our cost effectiveness analysis was carried out from a societal perspective, using clinical and economic variable estimates, derived by inspired guesswork. We assumed that the average doctor has no knowledge or interest in accountancy and will accept anything a health economist tells him or her without question; …

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