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Rationing the NHS

Engaging debate chaired by David Aaronovitch with Kenan Malik, Anne McElvoy, Matthew Taylor and Claire Fox. Should people with 'lifestyle illnesses' be denied NHS treatment?

In the week of the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report that was to lay the foundations for the welfare state, a Conservative MP, who's also a practicing GP, says patients suffering from lifestyle-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes should pay for part of their care. And in a recent online poll more than half of the doctors who took part said smokers and the obese should be denied non-emergency treatment until they changed their lifestyles. We now spend over £90 billion a year on the NHS, but with more spending cuts likely in next week's Autumn Statement how much longer can we afford the principle that treatment should be based on need and be free at the point of delivery? When money is tight and demand for, and costs of health care are increasing, who should the NHS be for? Is it fair for those who look after their health to see their taxes being squandered on treatment for those whose poor health could be described as "self-inflicted". But exactly what is the definition of 'self-inflicted illnesses? Obesity? Alcoholism? And what of injuries sustained while playing sports? It's a moral minefield too - how does one decide which illness is the result of sheer self-indulgence, and which is the result of uncontrollable inner demons at play? And do we blame ourselves for the ills that befall us, or should society take the rap and pay the bill? Is the concept of deserving and un-deserving patients inherently immoral, or a healthy dose of reality? Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by David Aaronovitch with Kenan Malik, Melanie Phillips, Matthew Taylor and Claire Fox. Witnesses: Dr Steve Davies - Education Director, Institute of Economic Affairs, Joyce Robbins - Patient Concern, Tam Fry - Spokesman for the National Obesity Forum; Chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, Dr Vivienne Nathanson - Director of Professional Activities at the British Medical Association.

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43 minutes


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