Monday, December 13, 2010

Time to Stop Paying N.I.?

West Kent PCT tells us, "We are committed to delivering equality of opportunity for all service users, carers, staff and wider communities."

And now tells us:

From this month, patients who smoke and need planned surgery will have to complete a NHS Stop Smoking course before their operation.


Patients who are clinically obese or with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30 will also have their surgery delayed and will have to carry out a weight loss programme.

So, if you smoke or you are too fat you don't get the surgery. It doesn't matter that this is a service you have been forced to pay for all your life.

H/T Dick Puddlecote

18 comments:

Jebel Krong said...

sadly it's the only way to get some people to change their lifestyle. the sensible alternative, of course, is to simply replace NI with a private healthcare scheme where such things are taken into account anyway to establish your policy. make unhealthy people pay more - be they alcoholics, obese, druggies or, yes, smokers - after all these things are a choice, not a right.

Fader209 said...

What if the surgery is needed because of smoking or obesity?
If it was easy enough to quit/slim then surely the patient would have done so before things got bad.

Jebel - (Wildly off topic)
OMG new Mass Effect 3 trailer! ;) haha.

AngryMurloc said...

Interesting that they are using BMI, since it's bullshit. You could be short, incredibly muscly, fit and healthy, yet your BMI would have the NHS look at you as if you were obese.

Neal Asher said...

So, Jebel, you go into a chemist to buy some aspirin, and you hand over your money. The chemist then asks what they are for. You tell him you drank too much last night and have a headache. He refuses to give you your aspirin but keeps your money. That's okay is it?

Incidentally, in the case of smokers the claim is that 'smokers cost the NHS X amount' neglecting to mention how much they DON'T cost the NHS by popping their cogs early. And this is why private health insurance companies hardly bother to take smoking into account. (Similar techinique is used in the in AGW death toll thing: We are told that X amount die because of AGW, but the much larger number of people who DON'T die in the winter is ignored.)

Yeah, I can see it, Fader209: "You must lose weight before we'll staple your stomach!"

That's me, AngryMurloc. At 13 stone I'm overweight yet I can put on 32" waist jeans. (I wish I was that weight now)

thatsskarwithak said...

Maybe it's how much they cost the NHS before they pop their clogs early is more the point? It's not like they get overweight and suddenly die now is it? How many go into type A diabetes etc etc, before they lose a limb and over what period.

Like everyone here, I pay taxes and would prefer it wasn't pissed up the wall for the self indulgent.

Jebel Krong said...

well, neal, the other aspect is that non-working people piss all OUR money away on beer, drugs and cigarettes and not on their 19/whatever kids whilst never working, whilst you and I both do. why should they benefit even more than they already do when simple practices could be put in place to at least cut down on some of the waste. i know you're a smoker, so have a vested interest in this but a. it's filthy and stinks and b. you know before you start it's gonna kill you, even as you fill up the governments tax coffers as you do so: surely everyone should want to quit?

and fader: woohoo! winter 2011 is fast!!

Jebel Krong said...

oh and to use your analogy: he could simply charge you a bit more for being stupid...

you could also look at how many people claim disability benefit for being "alcoholic" - it's quite a number, one wonders how that ever got started/permitted...

Neal Asher said...

I understand where you're coming from, Skar. But tell me, where do you stop when you start going down this road? Should the NHS refuse to treat mountain climbers, or those who didn't put on a seatbelt? Should dentists refuse to treat anyone with a Werther's Original habit? Should those who have unprotected sex be refused AIDs treatment?

But going back to my orginal point: it is wrong to demand - with menaces - money from someone for a service and then refuse to give it. If anyone other than government does that, it's a crime.

Neal Asher said...

Ah, but now you're talking about welfare scroungers, Jebel, which puts us in different territory. They shouldn't have enough money to afford to get fat and smoke cigarettes.

Smoking is not filthy. There is nothing more sterile than cigarette smoke. And, despite the claims otherwise, there's still no real proof that 2nd hand smoke is damaging. You may not like it, and that's fine. I don't like BO but I've got no right to demand it be made a law that everyone washes every day.

Andrew said...

I used to smoke but gave up. I can't stand it now unless I have had about 5 pints and then I have to have one.

Smokers are more likely to cost the NHS (and the taxpayer) more than a healthy, active non smoker over the course of their life.

If I was one of those people I would be annoyed about paying the same amount of NI as a smoker.

I suppose you do pay for it in the exorbitant tax put on cigarettes though.

What do you think about having to smoke outside of pubs then?

Neal Asher said...

Mmm, I think you should all read this article (1998):

http://tinyurl.com/3y8ltgd

For example:

Smoking costs the NHS between £1.4bn and £1.7bn a year, according to the most recent research.

The UK Government should raise £8.9bn from tobacco duty in 1998/99.

They calculated the average lifetime costs of a smoking man to be $72,700 - much less than $83,400for the non-smoking man.

...

This is of course an old article buried underneath the bansturbating bullship promoted by the likes of ASH nowadays.

Neal Asher said...

Ah, NHS costs of smoking now 2.7 billion, but still, do you think that 9 billion in revenue has gone down?

Jebel Krong said...

the fact that - like alcohol now - it brings in so much revenue to offset the cost is the reason why it hasn't just been banned outright (which they would do on public health grounds for anything else - a la drugs). it's not as big a disparity as you might think though - recent figures show the cost to the NHS to be more than 5 billion.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8086142.stm

passive smoking? -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_smoking
http://tinyurl.com/3xyu6kv
http://tinyurl.com/2vxkff8
http://tinyurl.com/32g2cny

no i don't like the smell, even less i like having to - and my 3yo son having to - walk through clouds of the stinking shit everytime i leave my flat because our neighbours smoke seemingly constantly (and cannabis) with their benefit money, and their own 2 yo lives in squalor. no they shouldn't have the money to do so - but the links between unemployment/benefits living and unhealthy lifestyles of smoking/drugs and binge-drinking (&anti-social behaviours etc etc) are well-known and well-studied and the fact that we've had police visits and they haven't even been warned about it, to my knowledge, show the leniency with which it is now dealt.

i'd point out that roll-ups smell markedly less than that manufactured rubbish, mind.

[quote]but going back to my original point: it is wrong to demand - with menaces - money from someone for a service and then refuse to give it. If anyone other than government does that, it's a crime.[/quote]

i agree with this completely and it's still a crime, even when a government does it - they don't get an exemption - but demanding more based on increased risk/cost is fine, and why people in certain professions DO pay more for insurance.

Jebel Krong said...

the fact that - like alcohol now - it brings in so much revenue to offset the cost is the reason why it hasn't just been banned outright (which they would do on public health grounds for anything else - a la drugs). it's not as big a disparity as you might think though - recent figures show the cost to the NHS to be more than 5 billion.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8086142.stm

passive smoking? -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_smoking
http://tinyurl.com/3xyu6kv
http://tinyurl.com/2vxkff8
http://tinyurl.com/32g2cny

no i don't like the smell, even less i like having to - and my 3yo son having to - walk through clouds of the stinking shit everytime i leave my flat because our neighbours smoke seemingly constantly (and cannabis) with their benefit money, and their own 2 yo lives in squalor. no they shouldn't have the money to do so - but the links between unemployment/benefits living and unhealthy lifestyles of smoking/drugs and binge-drinking (&anti-social behaviours etc etc) are well-known and well-studied and the fact that we've had police visits and they haven't even been warned about it, to my knowledge, show the leniency with which it is now dealt.

i'd like to point out that more natural cigarettes - roll-ups - smeall markedly less than that manufactured rubish, mind.

[quote]but going back to my original point: it is wrong to demand - with menaces - money from someone for a service and then refuse to give it. If anyone other than government does that, it's a crime.[/quote]

i agree with this completely - but demanding more based on increased risk/cost is fine, and why people in certain professions DO pay more for insurance. and it's still a crime, even when a government does it - they don't get an exemption.

Jebel Krong said...

sorry - damn posts errored and then got put up anyway... 0.o

Jebel Krong said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine

i'd point out the section on toxicology as well worth reading.

Ryan said...

I completely agree that smokers and over eaters (for want of a better term!) deserve just as much medical care as anyone else. However I do agree with the practice of putting self-inflicted wounds at the bottom of transplant lists. Ignorance is not an excuse, if you have damaged your body to the point of needing a transplant then you will not be given priority over someone who did not damage themselves.

In a more ideal world where the health service has far more resources and better technologies (like growing organs outside the body or regenerating them in situ) then that doesnt apply. Priorities are simply based on severity, but we dont live in a world like that. We have limited organs for transplant and often limited treatments, paying tax for the NHS doesnt necessarily mean you get the treatment you need if it could be better used on someone else

Ryan said...

also any surgery is risky and if you are overweight you are at greater risk. Morbidly obese people would simply not have a very good chance of survival in major surgery compared to loosing weight first.