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Should we help those who harm others? Let me make it harder for you. Should we help those who harm themselves? A self inflicted illness. An illness that has been caused due to the behaviour and decisions that one person makes. Picture the scene: It is a warm summer’s afternoon. Jack is sitting in his back garden, reading the papers. So is Emily. Neither Jack nor Emily are aware of each other’s existence, They soak up the sunshine. You see, they don’t often get weather like this in Scotland. In fact, they spend a lot of time inside, regardless of the weather. Both, Jack and Emily have lung cancer. However, a donor is available. Both patients desperately need a transplant. Jack needs them more than Emily, but she is closer to the top of the waiting list. Most likely, you would choose Jack: the person who needs them the most. However, what if you were to find out that the cause of Jack’s condition is that he smokes up to 20 cigarettes a day? Would you still be willing to give your lungs to him? Or would you opt for Emily? Her cancer has come from an inherited gene. Would this change your opinion? Should it change your opinion? One could argue that Jack’s tumour has been self inflicted by his bad decisions. This would suggest that Emily is more deserving for the transplant, as her cancer has been caused by a factor outside of her control.
The definition of a “self inflicted illness” is slightly cloudy. Some people would say that it is an illness caused by one-self. On the other hand, is self harm, and alcoholism included in the definition of this? Or is this all due to a mental illness which cannot be controlled? It could also be said that injuries from a road accident for not concentrating or driving at a ridiculous speed is a self inflicted disease. The NHS was set up to provide a good health service that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their wealth. The three original values of the NHS, prove that they will meet the needs of everyone, that it will be free at the point of delivery and that it will be based on clinical need, not ability to pay. Now, if the NHS took into consideration their own values and the story about Jack and Emily, it would only be fair to say that they chose Emily as she is closer to the top of the waiting list and the cause of her cancer shouldn’t matter.
If however, the NHS decided to pick Jack, are they going by their principles? One in 10 people do not think someone who has abused alcohol should get a liver transplant on NHS, and 52% think the NHS should not fund an illness if it was due to smoking. Coming back to the NHS’ values ; by not funding patients with self inflicted illnesses, means that all three of their core values are being destroyed and not obliged. However, in 2014 more than 1. 4 million people used the drug and alcohol services, including rehabilitation which costed the NHS £136 million. Recently, there has been news that the NHS has been struggling financially, and with millions of patients that they are dealing with should self inflicted patients foot the bill?
The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours. This is a exceedingly large number of people entering the NHS with problems, worries or issues. smoking costs the NHS more than £5bn a year. That is 5. 5% of the entire NHS budget alcohol consumption costs £3bn a year, while obesity accounts for a further £1bn
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