NHS Should Charge For Smoking, Obesity And Alcohol Related Illnesses Says Tory MP

'Let Them Eat Cake... But Only If They Pay For Healthcare'

A Conservative MP has said those who dabble daily with doughnuts should get their just desserts and pay for treatment before soaring costs bankrupt the NHS.

Speaking at an Institute of Economic Affairs briefing, Phillip Lee, who is also a GP, said people who suffer from illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes should pay more for prescriptions.

He said: "If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fine, but there's a cost."

Diseases associated with poor lifestyle choices should no longer be free at the point of access

It is not a view shared across the Tory party. Speaking to the BBC last week, defence secretary Philip Hammond said that Britain as a country had made a choice to make treatment free at the point of access and that this was a "cornerstone of modern society".

He said: "If a person's lifestyle choices have led them to be in a condition where treatment is not going to work for them or it's going to be higher risk for them, there is already a sense that those lifestyle choices do affect the treatment available."

When asked if patients who eat or drink too much should have to pay for treatment he said: "No. If you go down this route, where do you stop?

"What about kids who don't do their homework and don't get any help with further education later on?"

Some NHS boards and trusts have already independently made decisions to refuse treatment to people based on their lifestyle choices.

NHS Hertfordshire introduced a ban on hip and knee operations for patients with a BMI of more than 30. It already denies all routine procedures to smokers except for cardiac, neurology and cancer surgery.

Lee also made other suggestions for saving money such as allowing GPs to dispense medicines rather than pharmacists which, according to Lee, would save £400m a year.


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