M290 - NHS Anti-discrimination Motion Watch

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Faland
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M290 - NHS Anti-discrimination Motion, the Rt. Hon. Kittiara MP

This House notes that a Devon NHS Group, GP-led Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, is proposing to deny routine surgery to patients who smoke or are morbidly obese. Under the proposed changes, morbidly obese patients will be required to lose weight prior to routine surgery, and patients who smoke will be required to quit for at least six weeks prior to routine surgery. The Group states that it is facing a £14.5m deficit and needs to reduce costs.

This House is concerned that such a move will undermine the universal nature of the NHS. Whilst smoking and obesity are unhealthy, patients who smoke and patients who are morbidly obese should not be singled out and denied treatment.

Smoking is not illegal. It is also a recognised addiction that is difficult to overcome. Whilst help and support should be available to patients who want to overcome their addiction, it is inappropriate to place a patient under pressure to quit whilst they require surgery - should they fail, the appointment would be pushed back further and further and such a postponement could cause more serious health problems.

Morbidly obese patients should also receive help and support, but unless the obesity level directly prevents a specific surgical procedure from taking place, it is inappropriate to postpone required surgery whilst the patient adjusts to a healthier lifestyle. Moreover, obesity can, in certain cases, be linked to mental health problems and the denial of surgery would not benefit the patient's mental health.

This House, then, considers the proposal to be discriminatory and inappropriate and urges the Group to drop the proposal.


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9823899s89jojs
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Smoking and obesity should be viewed as illnesses that need treating. This is quite good.
Saracen's Fez
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I think it depends upon the necessity of the surgery. I think denying it to smokers is wrong when you consider how long it actually takes for the body to recover from the effects, but potentially the morbidly obese should lose some weight (not down to an ideal weight, but a bit) if the surgery is not particularly pressing.

It goes without saying that it's unacceptable to withhold emergency treatment from anybody.
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Chlorophile
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Nay, I've made my reasons for disagreeing with this motion clear. I am completely in favour of providing all of the provision necessary to make the process of giving up smoking as painless as possible but if people actively refuse to take responsibility for their health and refuse to help the government help them to help themselves, I don't believe that they should continue to expect standard government support. I'm not saying that smoking should be banned, I am simply saying that in a case such as smoking tobacco where the health risks are so obvious and have been so widely publicised, it is not fair for people who smoke and are not trying to give up to expect government support at the same level of people who are actively taking responsibility for their health. People who are trying to stop smoking should definitely deserve support - I am not trying to undermine the difficulty of giving up smoking - I am simply trying to target those who do not care and are not intending to stop. I don't agree that all routine surgery should be stopped - I think a fairer system would be charging an income-based contribution that is painful but manageable for potentially smoking-related treatment - but I do disagree with this idea to the extent that I disagree with this motion. I am aware that these proposals would be very difficult to enforce but I still disagree with this out of principle.
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Andy98
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Aye

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The Legal Eagle
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Aye!
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Aph
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Aye.
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InnerTemple
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Aye.

If I were to go on a skiing holiday and injure myself, there would be no issue with me continuing treatment under the NHS when I return to the UK. If I were to crash my car while driving, there would be no issue with me getting cared for by the NHS - even if I was driving recklessly and was entirely at fault.

There are many lifestyle choices which can lead to the need to access medical attention. Whilst it is clearly better for people not to smoke and to keep to a healthy weight, I find it disturbing that these groups of people are to be singled out and refused treatment.

We should invest in discouraging smoking and getting people live healthier, rather than undermine the principles the NHS was built upon.
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Birchington
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We need to encourage people to take responsibility for their own health and well being.

I do not believe these reforms in Devon are 'discriminatory' - they are sensible and common sense ideas that will work to cut dependency and waste.
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Green_Pink
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Absolutely Aye
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InnerTemple
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(Original post by Birchington)
We need to encourage people to take responsibility for their own health and well being.

I do not believe these reforms in Devon are 'discriminatory' - they are sensible and common sense ideas that will work to cut dependency and waste.
Would you like to see this extended?

To people who drink too much? Or people who participate in sports with a high chance of injury?

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That Bearded Man
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I'm curious as to this, I can understand the logic in requiring patients stop smoking prior to the operation, and for the requirement for patients to lose weight.

I think it needs to be divided further, presumably this is local, so patients are only targeted if it is realistic, and if sufficient "upstream" solutions are offered.

If done properly, I actually support what the GP practice has done, provided it is in a non-emergency capacity and no serious repercussions are expected. Big IF though.
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Jean-Luc Picard
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a most emphatic Aye!
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Birchington
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(Original post by InnerTemple)
Would you like to see this extended?

To people who drink too much? Or people who participate in sports with a high chance of injury?

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Yes. I personally think people who regularly play high-risk or potentially harmful sports should be required to take out top-up health insurance.

The NHS should do more to provide psychological support for addicts (food, alcohol, drugs) but should not give them priority over other patients for surgery/treatment.
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Kittiara
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(Original post by InnerTemple)
Aye.

If I were to go on a skiing holiday and injure myself, there would be no issue with me continuing treatment under the NHS when I return to the UK. If I were to crash my car while driving, there would be no issue with me getting cared for by the NHS - even if I was driving recklessly and was entirely at fault.

There are many lifestyle choices which can lead to the need to access medical attention. Whilst it is clearly better for people not to smoke and to keep to a healthy weight, I find it disturbing that these groups of people are to be singled out and refused treatment.

We should invest in discouraging smoking and getting people live healthier, rather than undermine the principles the NHS was built upon.
Exactly. Doing away with the universal nature of the NHS in these cases (which are easy targets) opens the door to all sorts of other exclusions. Drinking more than X units of alcohol a week? Sorry, no treatment. Unprotected casual sex? No treatment for you. Spending too many hours in the sun without sun tan lotion? Don't exercise enough? Exercise deemed too risky? Too many take-aways a month? No surgery, even if it's on, say, your eyes.

Sounds ridiculous, right? But so is this. Whether or not someone smokes is irrelevant when they need surgery on, for example, their wrist, or their ankle. Same with someone who is obese. And even if the surgery is for something related, surely it's better to go ahead with the procedure rather than allow the health problem to become worse? Unless someone's weight directly prevents a specific surgical procedure, there is no excuse to discriminate against a patient.
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username456717
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100% nay.

The NHS know what they are talking about; you don't. Leave it to the professionals.

Also, do you live in Devon or something?


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Green_Pink
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(Original post by Kittiara)
Exactly. Doing away with the universal nature of the NHS in these cases (which are easy targets) opens the door to all sorts of other exclusions. Drinking more than X units of alcohol a week? Sorry, no treatment. Unprotected casual sex? No treatment for you. Spending too many hours in the sun without sun tan lotion? Don't exercise enough? Exercise deemed too risky? Too many take-aways a month? No surgery, even if it's on, say, your eyes.

Sounds ridiculous, right? But so is this. Whether or not someone smokes is irrelevant when they need surgery on, for example, their wrist, or their ankle. Same with someone who is obese. And even if the surgery is for something related, surely it's better to go ahead with the procedure rather than allow the health problem to become worse? Unless someone's weight directly prevents a specific surgical procedure, there is no excuse to discriminate against a patient.
Fully agreed. I must say I'm shocked and somewhat saddened at the authoritarianism on show from some of my fellow members here. Whether an individual smokes, has an unhealthy lifestyle, takes risks with their bodies etc is personal to them. We should encourage people to be healthy, and work to help those who struggle with this such as those attempting to tackle addictions, but denying medical care to them on the basis that they do something the state doesn't approve of is frankly shocking and an offence to individual freedoms - not to mention undermining the universal NHS which I'd hope we all can still remember to value as one of this nation's greatest achievements.
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That Bearded Man
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(Original post by Birchington)
Yes. I personally think people who regularly play high-risk or potentially harmful sports should be required to take out top-up health insurance.

The NHS should do more to provide psychological support for addicts (food, alcohol, drugs) but should not give them priority over other patients for surgery/treatment.
I believe they usually take out private insurance anyway, and yes, that is the way the NHS is going.
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username456717
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(Original post by Green_Pink)
Fully agreed. I must say I'm shocked and somewhat saddened at the authoritarianism on show from some of my fellow members here. Whether an individual smokes, has an unhealthy lifestyle, takes risks with their bodies etc is personal to them. We should encourage people to be healthy, and work to help those who struggle with this such as those attempting to tackle addictions, but denying medical care to them on the basis that they do something the state doesn't approve of is frankly shocking and an offence to individual freedoms - not to mention undermining the universal NHS which I'd hope we all can still remember to value as one of this nation's greatest achievements.
It isn't though.

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Aph
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Worried this may not pass due to the split in the left.
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