First they came for the smokers
Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, said yesterday that it was "perfectly legitimate" for NHS trusts to refuse some treatments to heavy smokers or patients who are obese.
The 1944 White Paper, A National Health Service, set out the two guiding principles. Firstly, that such a service should be comprehensive, with all citizens receiving all the advice, treatment and care they needed, combined with the best medical and other facilities available. Secondly, that the service should be free to the public at the point of use.
It is no longer. Smokers pay through the nose for their pleasure, always being told that the money is needed because they will burden society, but even that is irrelevant. If the NHS starts picking who it chooses to treat then its slim raison d'être ceases. They start with the smokers, the unfashionably fat, who's next. I bet it isn't the bloody joggers with fucked up knees or yuppy rock climbers who are just as responsible for ruining their bodies as Mrs Miggins and her 40 Lambert and Butler a day.