This week the British general public has been at the centre of health related discussions and proposals; all aimed at improving our health and reducing NHS costs.
1. Lifestyle costs
We heard the views of Dr Phillip Lee, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, speaking to the Institute for Economic Affairs. During his talk he suggested that individuals with medical conditions that are diagnosed as being ‘lifestyle’ based, should be made to contribute to the cost of their healthcare. The NHS, Dr Lee argued, was under "increasing burden”. He evidenced this by explaining that the number of diabetic’s is estimated to increase by 700,000 by the end of the decade. 90% of diabetes cases will be Type 2, which is often (not always) aggravated by an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and being overweight.
"This clearly isn't a sustainable position," Dr Lee stressed.
Commenting on the issue, the Department of Health stated that the NHS was committed to meeting “patient’s needs and expectations in the face of growing demand from the public”. They continued:
"Decisions on treatments should be made by clinicians taking the needs of each individual into account”.
2. Parking charges
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), who sets national standards for healthcare, is calling for initiatives that will have the effect of “encouraging people to walk or cycle”. They believed success “could be achieved, for instance, by introducing restricted parking and higher parking charges”.
They hope that increased exercise will improve the population’s health and fitness levels and reduce ill-health going forward.
However, NICE have added caution by conceding that anyone considering such a scheme would need to ”consider how this would impact on car owners living in areas where the environment is not conducive to walking or cycling, or where there is little real alternative to driving.”
3. The price of alcohol
The government has outlined the start of consultations, on their plans to curb the excesses of Britain’s binge drinkers. It includes the introduction of a 45p minimum unit price for alcohol.
The home secretary, Theresa May, said in a statement that she hoped the price increase would “turn the tide” away from irresponsible drinking. The price increase is also expected to prevent 714 alcohol-related deaths , reduce crime and hospital admissions by 1 and 1.2 million respectively and save the British taxpayer £21 billion each year.
Multi-buy deals are also under scrutiny and could be restricted / banned.
What do you think?
i) We have a wise and proactive government (and government agencies), looking after the welfare of the UK public, maintaining law & order and effectively managing it's budget.
ii) There is too much state interference, points 2 and 3 in particular.