Published on April 29th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Is “Lifestyle Rationing” Becoming A Growing Trend With Doctors?
A recent survey by the Doctors.net.uk, a professional networking site, had turned up what could be a very alarming trend among doctors.
It’s called “lifestyle rationing” but it means that doctors are deciding whether to treat you or perform certain kinds of surgeries based on whether you are a smoker or not, along with whether you are obese.
According to the survey 54% of doctors who took part felt that the NHS (England’s National Health Service) should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment of patients who do not lose weight or quit smoking.
The reasoning given is that such unhealthy behavior could make any care or procedures less likely to work and as such they shouldn’t have “scarce” resources made available to them.
Dr. Tim Ringrose, CEO of Doctors.net.uk, says that this survey shows that there has been a dramatic shift in doctor’s thinking and that while the numbers might only reflect a small portion of doctors feel this way the fact that they do reflects that shift.
Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Dr. Clare Gerada finds this shift and a trend towards “lifestyle rationing” extremely disturbing.
She said: “It’s the deserving and undeserving sick idea. The NHS should deliver care according to need. There was no medical justification for such restrictions on smokers, as giving up nicotine would not necessarily enhance an operation’s chances of success. Clearly, giving up smoking is a good thing. But blackmailing people by telling them that they have to give up isn’t what doctors should be doing.”
While there is common ground when it comes to certain surgical procedures and the obese, i.e.: hip replacement, and the need for them to lose some weight before these types of procedures it is only because that genuinely reflects back on survival rate.
However when it comes to other types of “lifestyle rationing” Dr. Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee, says that this type of attitude is totally unacceptable.