Don’t treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.
Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.
So much for the Hippocratic oath. But seriously, this kind of tawdry tabloid news coverage distracts from the real debate raging in Britain — how does a country, with finite resources and a mandate to provide universal coverage, decide how to allocate those resources? There are no easy answers. What do you think of this decision by the British government (also from the above Telegraph story):
The Government announced plans last week to offer fat people cash incentives to diet and exercise as part of a desperate strategy to steer Britain off a course that will otherwise see half the population dangerously overweight by 2050.
Obesity costs the British taxpayer £7 billion a year. Overweight people are more likely to contract diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and to require replacement joints or stomach-stapling operations.
[Picture courtesy of NHS agency auxiliary nurse Tim Burness]