Friday, December 09, 2005

Don't smoke, don't drink, what do you do?

The international beacon of medical excellence that is the NHS has come up with another wizard wheeze to save some cash. Apparently there are circumstances in which medical practitioners may be able to withhold treatment from those whose lifestyle choices may result in such treatment not being effective. There are no prizes for guessing the lifestyle choices: smoking, being a fat bastard, and drinking heavily.

It has been stressed that treatment cannot be denied solely on the basis of these three lifestyles alone. Treatment may only be denied if the lifestyles compromise the efficacy of the treatment. I’m no expert on semantics, but what precisely is the difference?

Patient: “I’m a fat porker, I smoke forty a day, and I drink 2 bottles of vodka a day.
I’ve got pains in my chest. What treatment can I get?
Doctor: “Fuck off. Next please”.

I thought that there was such a thing as the Hippocratic Oath.

I fail to see the logic in denying treatment to the very people who are propping up Government finances through excise payments on tobacco and alcohol. Let’s face it, these people don’t have a great life expectancy, and are likely to cost the NHS less in the long run than everybody else anyway.

I hate the NHS. I hate the patronising nature of a state run monopoly that treats the populace as children who should be thankful for what they get. I smoke. If I get denied treatment, I’ll pay for it privately. A lot of people don’t have that choice.
I’d opt out of the NHS entirely if I was given a tax incentive to do so; I’m sure many people would. A thriving private health sector would drag up standards in the NHS as it would very quickly become obvious what an inefficient, producer oriented, shambles it is.

Rant over. Thank you and goodnight.


Sniffy said...

Two bottles of vodka a day Garfer? How do you manage to stay so lucid?

garfer said...

I drink two bottles of malt a day as well. They seem to cancel each other out.

Sniffy said...

I see.

I don't drink or smoke, but I used to - heavily. They'll start to bring that into the quation soon too.

This is a very dangerous path for them to take because there's no knowing where the line will be drawn. Will road traffic accident victims be refused treatment unless they sign a contract to never drive a car again? We already pay extra for the NHS through our car insurance, what next?

But you can see the other side of the argument too: with limited resources, there's no point in giving treatment to people where it will have no benefit due to factors other than the problem itself. What's the point in replacing lower limb joints in people who are too fat to walk and where the prosthesis will degrade prematurely? These people aren't being done any favours if their not given additional advice to lose weight, or unless treatment is witheld until a target weight is reached.

But with smoking, the NHS receives £8bn each year in revenue from tobacco taxes whereas it spends about £4.3bn to treat smoking-related illnesses. Kerching, that's what I say.

garfer said...

I'm sure that clinical judgements like that are taken everyday and always have been.

It just mystifys me why NICE (crap acronym) have to make a blanket statement like that. Fuckwits.

Wyndham said...

Doctors tend to drink and smoke heavily. Should they really have access to all those drugs?

What this comes down to, of course, is another attack on poor people and their unpalatable lifestyles.

funny thing said...

If no one drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes, they'd find another reason to not pay up. Being too short, or having ginger hair (heaven forbid...)

They will always be short of cash and always be making excuses about why they should only spend it on rich bastards who can afford BUPA anyway.

garfer said...

Those of the ginger persuasion should naturally be denied treatment. The less ginger nuts about the better for the rest of us.

pissoff said...

Short people too. They should deny treatment to anyone under 5'6" and only if they're under 16.

I thought they had a song about that.... "Short people have no reason...."

garfer said...

I am shocked by your shortist attitude April. Dwarves serve many useful purposes in life. Footstools for example.

MHN for short said...

Nice referrence to Adam and the Ants!!!

GreatSheElephant said...

Just dropping by to nut you. Yours, a ginger nut.

garfer said...

Your condition is, unfortunately, incurable Greatsheelephant. If if it of any consolation, the ginger gene is also rife in my family. By some miracle I have escaped unscathed, but have decided to refrain from breeding in the best interests of future generations.