Some 54% of doctors who took part said [in a survey] the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking. 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?”
Areas to think about:
- Are the survey’s results representative of the medical profession? If not, why?
- How far should taking responsibility for one’s own health impact on the availability of state-provided/”free” healthcare?
- How would you make an ethical determination on what the system should provide?
- What examples are there of healthcare in the NHS already being limited due to how a patient lives their life?
- Is healthcare a right or a privilege?