Don’t treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors – Telegraph

Aah, the Panacea of Socialized medicine: the eventual realization that you can’t pay for everything for everyone, then rationing ensues.

Don’t treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors – Telegraph
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.

Can’t wait for socialized medicine here. UPDATE: Yes, that’s sarcasm.


  1. Surely you jest!

  2. Ken Lightbody says:

    So your thinking is that given the choice between giving the operation to an elderly patient, with great insurance, is preferred over a child of 14 with no medical insurance. This sounds like a shortage of qualified doctors, facilities and common sense. Perhaps with socialized medicine the rules would be fairer.

    [GD: I think you need to read it again: this is in the land of socialized medicine we’re talking about.]

  3. CommonSense says:

    Have a look at what is influencing British NHS reforms

  4. No that’s not a nice thought what the NHS docs are proposing,but at least ALL of their people have medical care.Also they are proposing that people have some GASP responsibility in maintaining their health(in case of smoking,obesity,etc) instead of here in the land of entitlement where fat slobs present to the ERs with the mantra”I’m broke,fix me”.
    It’s not a good system but it’s better than what we have right now and we need to figure out something before our system collapses in a heap.

  5. ScribeTurnedMSI says:

    “Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.”

    To me it seems that not ALL the people would be getting their medical care anymore if this came to pass, at least not certain benefits. Isn’t that kind of the point of having a socialized system? Everybody gets taken care of, no worries about insurance status? Makes me wonder how much faster a system like this would be in the same trouble if enacted over here in the US with our nasty habit of showing up in the ER with the sniffles or a cough from smoking 10 ppd.

    I’m all for people being held responsible for the choices that they’ve made, and since people don’t usually take kindly to massive tax increases to cover the costs of their mandatory health care system, the hit has to come from somewhere. I think this is the inevitable endpoint of these socialized programs in a country such as ours.

  6. nice post!

  7. Demented, frail, senile, weak, brittle? You do not have a medical condition, you have a social condition. Please apply for social support. I am sorry, due to funding difficulties we do not offer social support at the moment.

  8. It’s only socialized in the sense that it’s available to everyone. There no limits on access to private health insurance, except the ability to pay

  9. People of ALL SIZES present to the ED with the mantra “I’m broke, fix me”.

    I think that is just wrong! And who decides these things and what is the cut off point? Are they talking elective surgery or life saving surgeries. So overweight people, elderly people, smoking people and drinkers have no value as human beings? There lives are disposable? Didn’t Hitler think that way?

    I don’t condone all the behaviors that go with some of these people but in the mix you have got some real good people that are devalued because of a weakness. Yes there needs to be accountability but c’mon…we are talking about human beings. They are someones uncle or grandma or brother or child, etc.

    Where is Michael Moore for that article?

  10. I think we should withold care from anyne who has not walked 1/2 hour 5 tuimes a day and y the way let’s withold care from anyone who has had a lewd thought or a communist thought or any thought at all. In fact, let’s withold care from everyone and leave insurance cos. to collect premiums but they will no longerneed to disburse any $. By the way let’s withold care from anyone over 45. When Congress votes on this, I have a list of sins that should merit witholding care.

  11. Careful, bloggers. The same who put for the idea you ridicule might suggest dispensing “soma” (A. Huxley, Brave New World) to keep the peace.

  12. Freddy Hill says:

    Gruntdoc, I realize that this thread is a bit stale, but its subject is fairly immediate to me, so I hope that this gets read.

    You complain about UK’s socialized medicine, but you work in an ER. You make life and death decisions every day. You choose to spend part of your considerable but ultimately finite (no offense intended!) brain power on deciding to help patient A first and patient B second. You do the same thing personally as the UK National Health Service does collectively.

    Is there a difference?

    Speaking as a guy that by now is just happy to look at the golf ball from above the green rather than from below, I’m grateful that you and guys and gals like you are around to make that decision, rather than relying on some bean counter somewhere.

    Health care choices must ultimately be economic decisions. The difference between the UK and US health care is not one of fairness, but one of trust. Both systems are deeply unfair, but so is life. All things being equal, though, I want people in the trenches to make the decisions, and not faceless bureaucrats. In this the American system is (for now) far superior.

  13. Hmm, I don’t ration care for anyone. We do triage patients as to severity, but that’s to provide the appropriate level of care to the sickest quickest but eventually getting to them all.

    I do not say “Well, you’re still smoking, so no nebulized bronchodialators, no steroids for you”; I will mention that smoking probably isn’t in their best interest at this point, but that’s the most I’d say (and often don’t, they’ve heard it and prefer smoking to living longer).

    Triage isn’t care denial, it’s resource allocation, and it’s based on medical need, not moral judgments.

  14. Freddy Hill says:

    Thanks for the answer. I did not mean to imply that you made moral judgments during triage, nor that you denied care. My point is that, given that there are limited resources to be allocate (as you mention in your answer), I’d rather have you the allocation rather than some faceless committee trying to second-guess God.

  15. Demented, frail, senile, weak, brittle? You do not have a medical condition, you have a social condition. Please apply for social support. I am sorry, due to funding difficulties we do not offer social support at the moment