Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, said yesterday that it was “perfectly legitimate” for NHS trusts to refuse some treatments to heavy smokers or patients who are obese.
Miss Hewitt defended the right of doctors and managers to draw up local guidelines on treatment after a survey revealed that some trusts are already banning operations.
Oh dear, Miss Hewitt seems to be confusing the NHS Trusts with a private healthcare system – and we aren’t there yet (HA!).
The NHS has no right to turn away patients from services that it has been deigned to provide unless there is a compelling medical case to the contrary. Every tax payer in this country is compelled to pay National Insurance contributions towards their healthcare, pension, and welfare benefits – the quid pro quo of this is the State is obliged to provide services to each and everyone of the people.
If the State is not to provide services to certain people it must stop demanding payment of National Insurance so that they are able to buy medical insurance without it being a punitive measure. It should then be taken as read that anyone wishing to opt out of State welfare services should have the right to not pay National Insurance also.