Ah, the wonders of socialized medicine ... and a really, really, really slippery slope here.
I'll bet it will.
NHS may not treat smokers, drinkers or obese
By Celia Hall, Medical Editor
People who are grossly overweight, who smoke heavily or drink excessively could be denied surgery or drugs following a decision by a Government agency yesterday.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) which advises on the clinical and cost effectiveness of treatments for the NHS, said that in some cases the "self-inflicted" nature of an illness should be taken into account.
But the report bars any discrimination against patients on grounds of age alone.
Nice stressed that people should not be discriminated against by doctors simply because they smoked or were overweight. Its ruling should apply only if the treatment was likely to be less effective, or not work because of an unhealthy habit.
The agency also insisted that its decision was not an edict for the whole NHS but guidance for its own appraisal committees when reaching judgments on new drugs or procedures.
But the effect is likely to be the same.
Nice is a powerful body and the cause of much controversy. It is seen by some as a new way of rationing NHS treatment.
Across the country primary care trusts regularly wait for many months for a Nice decision before agreeing to fund a new treatment.
One group of primary care trusts is ahead of Nice. Last month three PCTs in east Suffolk decided that obese people would not be entitled to have hip or knee replacements unless they lost weight.
The group said the risks of operating on them were greater, the surgery may be less successful and the joints would wear out sooner.
It was acknowledged that the decision would also save money.