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Friday, June 15th 2007

Smoking On The Way To The OR

Let’s Hope Barney Never Needs A New Hip

The NHS reiterates – if you keep smoking, it’s going to take you longer to get that surgery.

The ruling applies to routine operations such as hip replacements and heart surgery for conditions that are not immediately life-threatening.

If smokers refuse to give up, they are still likely to be treated but may have to wait longer.

Leicester City Primary Care Trust will become the first health authority to introduce the “quit or wait” rule this summer. Other health trusts are consulting on the idea.

Rod Moore, the trust’s assistant director of public health, said: “If people give up smoking prior to planned operations it will improve their recovery. It would reduce heart and lung complications and wounds would heal faster.

“Our purpose is not to deny patients access to operations but to see if the outcomes can be improved.”

However patients’ groups argue that the move is about the NHS saving money rather than improving patient care.

You think Sherlock?

Seriously I wouldn’t have a problem with this if socialized medicine in the UK wasn’t surprising private options. Then they could just refuse to quit and have a legitimate avenue of paying for the operation themselves. But as it stands right now, this is only another example of the access to care issues raised by health care systems with bureaucraticly managed global budgets.