UK National Health Service Expand Surgery Ban For Smokers and Obese People

The Left claims that single-payer, universal government run healthcare is the only solution for the United States’ healthcare woes, but it doesn’t take much research to realize the folly of such an idea. Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the single-payer system is continuously sliding into the inevitable rationing of healthcare because of the system’s own unsustainability.

Back in August, I wrote on this issue regarding rationing in the National Health Service. The idea of rationing healthcare is one that conservatives and libertarians are wary of with single-payer systems, but it is an issue that the Left claims does not exist. It is because of that denial that the situation is only getting worse for our welfare-state neighbors across the waters.

Indeed, even employees of NHS have begun to admit the vast array of failures that the system is now experiencing. Many of the times that doctors have had to deny treatment were due to financial constraints, according to The Guardian. Some of the routine services that are being denied include cataract removals, new hips and knees, and removal of varicose veins.

The revelations have prompted fresh concern among doctors and health experts that the cash-strapped NHS is increasingly denying patients treatments that were routinely available until recently. The sick “have misguidedly become soft targets for NHS savings”, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has said.

Rationing is the only method left to ensure that the entire system does not go imminently bankrupt, but the consequence is that some people are forced out and cannot get medical care that they once could.

In essence, because of the government’s control over the health system, the government is deciding who gets and who does not get care. That means that government controls all aspects of your life, because in one form or another, what you do affects your health. For those who are smokers and/or obese, the government is further expanding the ban on basic surgeries, The Telegraph is reporting.

The NHS will ban patients from surgery indefinitely unless they lose weight or quit smoking, under controversial plans drawn up in Hertfordshire.

The restrictions – thought to be the most extreme yet to be introduced by health services – immediately came under attack from the Royal College of Surgeons.

Its vice president called for an “urgent rethink” of policies which he said were “discriminatory” and went against the fundamental principles of the NHS.

In recent years, a number of areas have introduced delays for such patients – with some told operations will be put back for months, during which time they are expected to try to lose weight or stop smoking.

But the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, say that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” at all, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Patients who are smokers will have to stop smoking for at least eight weeks before being qualified for a minor surgery. They will be subjected to a breathalyzer test to verify (again, more government control over people’s lives as a necessary consequence of this system).

East and North Hertfordshire CCG and Herts Valleys stated that their aims are “to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, wherever possible, freeing up limited NHS resources for priority treatment.”

Both of those clinical commissioning groups are in a great deal of financial difficulty, and are hoping to save £68 million during this financial year. However, in order to do that, services have to be cut somewhere.

The cuts target those whose behavior can create significant health problems. Smoking and obesity are leading causes of premature death in many Western countries. While aiming to reduce those deaths is a noble goal, the idea of the government cutting medical services to influence their behavior is a recipe for even more abuse of power.

Ian Eardley, senior vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, condemned the decision.

“Singling out patients in this way goes against the principles of the NHS,” he said.

“This goes against clinical guidance and leaves patients waiting long periods of time in pain and discomfort. It can even lead to worse outcomes following surgery in some cases.

“There is simply no justification for these policies, and we urge all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to urgently reverse these discriminatory measures.”

Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said that “This is absolutely disgraceful – we all pay our taxes, and the NHS should be there when we need it; we did not agree to a two-tier system.”

There should not be that kind of two-tiered system, but that’s only in theory. In practice, government run healthcare schemes are only sustainable for so long. The welfare state cannot support itself without rationing out the benefits it claims to provide (which are funded by massive theft of people’s earnings).

May we never socialize our healthcare system. It’s messy and has some pretty big issues that need to be addressed, but let’s not address the patient’s serious infection with euthanasia. There are better options that delving into State-controlled healthcare that will only lead to decreased quality of care in the long term, such as we see with the UK’s National Health Service.

Those options? Well, that’s a subject for another article…