A Weighty Problem
I HAVE DISCOVERED THAT a newspaper columnist should avoid certain subjects. Mention religion, politics or people with ginger hair and my mailbox fills faster than a ferry to the UK when volcanic ash is in the air.
So I know I'm on safe ground to highlight areas the National Health Service could save some money.
Overweight people visit their doctor 12 per cent more and spend 19 per cent longer in hospital. The average visit to a hospital costs you - the tax payer between £ 410 and £ 1,027 depending on whose report you believe.
So with 463 patients being seen a minute and with 43 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women being overweight, I have found a great and obvious method in cutting our national debt - start charging the obese people. Before you start yelling, yes I am qualified to make such a statement. I've lost six stone over four years, so genuinely appreciate how much willpower is required.
I therefore fail to understand why our Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP, or his assistant, the Chief Secretary Danny Alexander don't create a 'Fat Tax'.
Why stop there, it costs you the tax payer over £374 million a year in treating cirrhosis of the liver. So let’s start charging some of the 15,200,000 people who attend Accident & Emergency each year, who have self-inflicted problems - such as alcohol poisoning or drug abuse. It's estimated the National Health Service spends £ 3 billion a year on alcohol abuse alone.
At this rate I'm either going to be asked to be Mayor of Somerset or assassinated.
There are over 43,000 admissions to our hospitals attributed to thugs brawling. Let's charge them; if they can afford alcohol they can afford a fine. The government doesn't hesitate to fine me for just doing 5 mph over the speed limit and I'm not costing anyone money. In fact, I'm using more petrol so providing additional revenue to the public purse in tax.
While I'm at it, let’s charge for the anti-obesity treatments, such as drugs or gastric bands. The department of Health says obesity will cost the NHS in England £6.3 billion a year by 2015. Forget Mayor at this rate I'll be the next Prime Minister.
Another reason my mates George and Dan should listen is, being overweight is linked to cancers like breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. Cancer treatment is very expensive. Hazel Blears said, "There are clear links between obesity and our biggest killers - heart disease and cancer.” No kidding Sherlock!
It seems ironic that the overweight, drug taking alcoholics are given no expense spared help and assistance. Yet the old, ill and genuinely frail are not wanted to clogg up our hospital beds. Should you be a cancer sufferer wanting unusual or expensive chemotherapy, you either have to pay for it yourself or create so much media attention until your local authority backs down. I'm so pleased I've managed to avoid any contentious subjects this week!
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