Pleasing to learn that health economists, occasionally accused of being in a world of their own, at least share an international language.

Ray Naden, from the ministry of health in New Zealand, where patients are prioritised for eye surgery if they have recently had a “near miss” on the road or work in a mine, shared his lessons with a King’s Fund/Office of Health Economics conference last week. Challenged about measuring health gains by a fellow geek from Norway, Dr Naden observed: “Life isn’t in straight lines. Actually life is in logarithmic and S-shaped lines.” He accepted “you can make it into straight lines, but that can confuse people”. Perish the thought.