Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Nearly all today’s papers carry comments on the governments plans to bring in some form of NHS contract or agreement which will enshrine patient’s rights and expectations. However, in return the public will be obligated to ensure their own life style does not place a burden on the health service i.e. they should not smoke, drink to excess or be obese.

Without doubt the nation is facing a health time bomb. The first waves are already being felt now, with hospitals bearing the brunt of patients blighted by “life style” diseases. However, Browns planned constitution is a dangerous move. It is state intrusion at its ultimate, with the government in effect telling us what we can and cannot eat. It is also the beginning of an official policy of rationing NHS treatment on moral guidelines not accepted by all. Why should a working person who pays tax, national insurance and tobacco levies be told he can’t receive treatment because he chose to smoke?

The whole concept is unworkable and ridiculous.

When it comes to health, Brown is focusing on the wrong sector. Instead of insisting the public shoulder the burden, perhaps he should look at the following area:

1. A reduction and strengthening of control measures on mass produced cheap alcohol, made to taste like children’s drinks. Children as young as 13 are being treated in hospital for liver and alcohol related diseases, the victims of the drinks industries subliminal campaign strategy. Higher fines are needed re those who sell to underage children, and an obligatory code of conduct needs to be established to govern how alcohol is produced, marketed and sold.
2. Food producers also need to ring fenced by a mandatory code of production, with salt levels, fat contents and added synthetic ingredients all being reduced.
3. A national strategy needs to be established to encourage children to become more active. We need to reinvigorate our leisure centre structures, with new pools, football areas, cycling tracks and athletic stadiums. With the involvement of the private sector, the financial burden with be reduced. We also need to reintroduce the sporting ethic back into our schools, tangible awards being offered at all levels to those who wish to study sports related courses i.e. a GCSE in football management etc.

Food, drink, exercise – all issues which can be tackled without creating a two tier NHS based on your ability to run the 100 yard dash with a low fat yoghurt in one hand and a orange in the other!

No comments: