The Sunday Telegraph and the News of the World are running a story first reported by the BBC last month - namely, 'Smokers and overweight patients in need of major operations could be thrown off hospital waiting lists under "desperate" cost-cutting plans'.
The policy seems to have angered several groups including the Patients Association and even some GPs. The Telegraph reports my response as follows:
Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group Forest, accused the PCT of discriminating against smokers and creating a "two-tier" system. He said: "Of course patients should be told that smoking could have an impact on the success or recovery from an operation, but given that they have paid huge sums in taxation on cigarettes over the years, the question of whether or not they have the surgery should be one for them, not the NHS."
Full article HERE.
The News of the World features my response alongside that of "News of the World GP" Dr Hilary Jones. See below.
Thanks to Dave Atherton for bringing my attention to a Dutch study funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports. Conducted in 2007 and published in 2008 it found that:
Despite the higher annual costs of the obese and smoking cohorts, the healthy-living cohort incurs highest lifetime costs, due to its higher life expectancy ... Furthermore, the greatest differences in health-care costs are not caused by smoking- and obesity-related diseases, but by the other, unrelated, diseases that occur as life-years are gained. Therefore, successful prevention of obesity and smoking would result in lower health-care costs in the short run (assuming no costs of prevention), but in the long run they would result in higher costs.