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« Perfect couple: public health minister attends ASH AGM | Main | Norris McWhirter and the BBC: loose words cost reputations »

Smokers may be refused operations

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.

Reader Comments (14)

Next NHS refuse to treat smokers and anyone whose BMI is over 24.9. Hillary Jones the housewifes favourite, well, now only the ones who's BMI is less than 24.9 anyhow.

December 19, 2010 at 9:35 | Unregistered CommenterCW

What a cowardly and cynical position to take. That it's put out the public as if uncontroversial demonstrates how poisonous ASH and friends really are.

Forest clearly has taken the higher moral ground here. Right?

December 19, 2010 at 11:06 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Brian Oblivion

Did I read it right?
Dr Hillary Jones ........' You need patients to be in the best of health ........'

They'll only do 'soft medicine'!

December 19, 2010 at 13:40 | Unregistered CommenterChrisB

Hilary Jones is a liar - I've had five major ops - and before some of those I smoked happily in a hospital lounge which used to be allowed - NO INFECTIONS.

I have actually banned myself from the NHS. I'm not welcome. I will die without care because I will not go to hospital nor my GP.

Thanks Nulab - and thanks NuTories for disregarding me.

This about forcing everyone to comply with anti-smoker ideology by forcing them under blackmail to quit.

The NHS does not give a toss. It murdered my former-smoking mum - who quit under NHS pressure 20 years earlier - through neglect because it has an unspoken policy locally of leaving those over 75 to die.

Thanks for voting Tory everyone - look what you got us.

I despair.

Excuse me while I go and find the rope and the take it to the bottom of the garden.

December 19, 2010 at 13:42 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

It's a bit cold out there Pat but if your'e determined then so be it.

December 19, 2010 at 14:24 | Unregistered CommenterDick Hardcastle

Sick people shouldn't be in hospital, anyway: they put the staff at risk of contracting Secondhand Illness Condition. Is there NO limit to the selfishness of some people ?

December 19, 2010 at 16:01 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

What about the effects of enforced non smoking on smoking patients?

That in itself can cause so much stress that infection would be the least of their worries!

Then again, maybe the higher risk of infection stems from post op patients having to stand out in the cold and wet to have a smoke and nothing to do with the act of smoking at all!

There are always two sides to a story and it is about time that government had the balls to admit to the other side!

December 19, 2010 at 17:42 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Dick Hardcastle - I'd never give them the satisfaction of calling it "smoking related" when it would undoubtedly be "anti-smoker" related.

As for being cold - I guess they'd find an excuse not to treat me for hypothermia .

December 19, 2010 at 21:35 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"Your patients need to be in the best of health..."

Seriously, I don't believe that I've ever heard a more idiotic statement. Someone who is "in the best of health" is highly unlikely to be a "patient", now are they?

December 20, 2010 at 3:22 | Unregistered CommenterAno

So does that mean that 'social' drugs like coke users will be treated in hospitals just because they leave no trace in plain sight and does it also apply to someone who overdoses on hard drugs.
So will hard drug users be treated in hospitals for taking an illegal substance, while smokers are refused treatment in hospitals for taking a legal substance.
Its all very confusing.

December 20, 2010 at 11:13 | Unregistered Commenterann

Good point Ano.

Another thing that really gets to me is these numbers of people supposedly dying due to smoking, be it first or secondhand. Even the ridiculous figures they come out with - was it 100.000(?), include people well into their dotage who more than likely died from old age, what about the thousands (24000 in the winter of 2007/08, if memory serves me right, who died from the cold?

With the cold spell we are having now, how many more thousands will die?

This is what they should be doing something about as Hypothermia is a valid and provable cause of death and it is literally killing thousands in a 3 to 4 month period in what is supposed to be a civilised and one of the wealthiest countries in the world! (Well, nowadays, wealthiest might be stretching it a bit)

All the money wasted on anti smoking propoganda and policing could be saving real lives that are lost to a real illness caused by a real situation - WINTER = COLD.

December 20, 2010 at 20:38 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

There is no profit or vote potential in saving the elderly from the cold.
Far more profit in creating jobs even at govt level by saving smokers from themselves and brainwashing people into believing they are working for our own good.
The elderly can just go and die.

December 21, 2010 at 11:17 | Unregistered Commenterann

Frankly doctors like Hillary Jones should be struck off. I fear his uncaring nature would lead to unnecessary deaths.

What was that about the hippocratic oath? Are they not duty bound to care for sick people no matter what?

This pathetic excuse for a "doctor" is inciting fear and hatred of smokers by encouraging them to be left to die if they need an operation, for example, that could save their life.

We need less like him and we should be actively campaigning against his sort. If he was a proper doctor with a GP practice - and correct me if I'm wrong but I think he is simply a "rent-a-quote" celeb Dr - then we should all complain to his local PCT.

Doctors are not supposed to be bias in their treatment of patients. He is.

December 21, 2010 at 13:29 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Ann, I agree with you, but it does no harm to point these things out.

I know, from personal experience, that the NHS actively appear to hasten the demise of elderly patients and those who are terminally ill. It would be so much better if these people could choose for themselves whether or not they want to take the route of euthenasia, rather than still have a lingering death and losing all dignity at the hands of what is supposedly a caring profession.

No doubt this is all in the name of saving money, same as it would be to deny operations to smokers.

December 21, 2010 at 15:44 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

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