Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

February 13, 2008

“Don’t treat the old and unhealthy”

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:43 am

News from the (British) National Health Service (NHS), which is the UK’s universal health care system:

Don’t treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors

By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:09am GMT 28/01/2008

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.

Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

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.

Nice to see that in a universal health care system, everyone has equal access to care, and no one is denied care just so the insurance companies can save money.

I’d like to see the presidential candidates comment on this!

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