Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.As the Telegraph (U.K.) opines:
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.
£1.7 billion is spent treating diseases caused by smoking, such as lung cancer and emphysema. .
The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as "outrageous" and "disgraceful".
About one in 10 hospitals already deny some surgery to obese patients and smokers, with restrictions most common in hospitals battling debt.
Managers defend the policies because of the higher risk of complications on the operating table for unfit patients. But critics believe that patients are being denied care simply to save money.
Those judgments have been condemned as "outrageous" and "disgraceful", and so, in many ways, they are - but the unpleasant reality is that they are only a reflection of the inevitability of rationing within the NHS. The Government repeatedly promises us that "the NHS provides treatment on the basis of need, free at the point of delivery". That promise generates the expectation that we will receive free treatment for whatever condition we develop. The expectation is frequently disappointed, however, and for one simple reason: the promise on which it is based is fraudulent. . .(via Right Wing News)
The way health care is funded in Britain ensures that a wider range of treatments are rationed here than in countries such as Germany or France, where personal insurance genuinely does make a significant contribution to the overall budget. There is more money available in those systems, so while the problems of rationing exist in them, they are considerably less acute than they are within the NHS.