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(The Year 2012 In Review)
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|User Info||More Dumb: Teen Diabetes; entered at 2012-04-30 11:18:30|
Registered: 2007-09-04 Wilmington, NC
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Doctors back denial of treatment for smokers and the obese
Survey finds 54% of doctors think the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment
A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over the NHS's growing use of "lifestyle rationing".
Some 54% of doctors who took part said the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking. Some medics believe unhealthy behaviour can make procedures less likely to work, and that the service is not obliged to devote scarce resources to them.
However, senior doctors and patient groups have voiced alarm at what they call "blackmailing" of the sick, and denial of their human rights.
Doctors.net.uk, a professional networking site, found that 593 (54%) of the 1,096 doctors who took part in the self-selecting survey answered yes when asked: "Should the NHS be allowed to refuse non-emergency treatments to patients unless they lose weight or stop smoking?"
One doctor said that denying in-vitro fertilisation to childless women who smoked was justified because it was only half as successful for them. Another said the NHS was right to expect an obese patient or alcoholic to change their behaviour before they underwent liver transplant surgery.
Dr Tim Ringrose, Doctors.net.uk's chief executive, said the findings represented a significant shift in doctors' thinking brought on by the NHS in England's need to save 20bn by 2015. "This might appear to be only a slim majority of doctors in favour of limiting treatment to some patients who fail to look after themselves, but it represents a tectonic shift for a profession that has always sought to provide free healthcare from the cradle to the grave," he said.
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Last modified: 2012-04-30 11:19:31 by crossthread