People who eat doughnuts for breakfast should be charged for prescriptions, says Tory MP
GP Philip Lee warns the soaring cost of 'lifestyle' diseases like obesity could bankrupt the NHS
22:46 GMT, 26 November 2012
People who eat doughnuts for breakfast should pay for prescriptions if they develop diabetes, a Tory MP said yesterday.
Phillip Lee, who is also a practising GP, warned the soaring cost of obesity and other lifestyle diseases will bankrupt the NHS unless people take more responsibility for their own health.
Calling for charges to be brought in, the MP for Bracknell said: ‘If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, fine, but there is a cost implication. We need to match actions to consequences – at the moment that does not happen.’
Tory MP Philip Lee, a practising GP, said people who eat doughnuits for breakfast should be charged for their prescriptions if they later develop diabetes (file image)
Tory MP and GP Philip Lee said most patients these days were suffering from lifestyle-related illnesses that could bankrupt the NHS
Dr Lee also warned that members of the ‘baby boomer’ generation were less ‘stoical’ than their parents – with potentially disastrous consequences for the finances of the NHS. He said there a ‘stark difference’ between the way in which those in their eighties dealt with pain, compared to those in their late sixties and early seventies.
Dr Lee said the majority of patients he saw were now suffering from illnesses caused by their lifestyles, or complaining of conditions that their forebears would have suffered in silence.
He suggested ministers should study the system used in Denmark where individuals are allocated a ‘modest’ annual drugs budget, after which they are expected to pay for their own prescriptions.
And he said charging people for the cost of their prescriptions would encourage them to take more responsibility for their own health.
‘If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, fine, but there is a cost implication down the line,’ he said.
‘We need to match actions to consequences – at the moment that does not happen in this country.’
Dr Lee said people had to take more responsibility for their own health
Politicians have traditionally fought shy of telling people to take responsibility for their own health, because of fears of a public backlash.
But, speaking at an event organised by the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank, Dr Lee warned that without major changes the NHS could face financial collapse.
He warned that only socialist Cuba attempted to maintain a healthcare system on the same line as the UK’s.
He went on: ‘We have got to be bold here, we have got to be decided that the National Health Service in its current form is not sustainable.
‘It probably can limp on for the rest of this decade but the reality is the pressures coming from the baby boomer generation and their expectations of health care, their perceptions of pain and suffering is profoundly different to their stoic parents who survived the war.”
‘It's time we actually got quite realistic about this because if we don't we are going to lose what most people would want in this country which is access to care when you need it irrespective of your means.
‘In which case, if we don't start reforming now and actually accepting that the way Nye Bevan designed it in post-war stoic Britain has got to change then we are going to end up with collapse and the free for all and the pretty disgraceful situation you find in the US.’
Dr Lee said 400 million could be saved from the drugs budget by allowing GP surgeries to dispense medicines. There would be no need for pharmacists to be involved because ‘it's like counting Smarties’, he said.