Death, taxes, certainties, groups and communities or NICE and the deathly hallows
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This paper argues that the laudable wish to fund health and social care through taxes makes governments desperate for rigorous probabilities to contain these costs. Statistical analysis of double-blind randomised controlled trials (DBRCTs) is beautifully adapted to this task for drug interventions. However, statistical analyses of experiments have been worshipped as if they were not just excellent methods to describe uncertainty but elevated as they provided certainties. Interestingly, the statistical logic that enables the randomised controlled trial (RCT) to test differences between two drugs does not work for therapeutic communities (TCs), nor for interactive therapy groups nor a number of other psychosocial interventions. This paper sketches out why the statistical logic for cannot distil certainties from RCTs of TCs. However, it argues that this a point of contact enabling us to work with governmental evaluators to help them retain the strengths of their own methods and community processes while perhaps gaining from some of ours. © The Author(s).