Brickbat: No Surgery for You


Kwanchaichaiudom / Dreamstime

The United Kingdom's National Health Service has imposed an indefinite ban on non-urgent surgery for smokers and the obese. Smokers will have to give up smoking for at least eight weeks before their will be scheduled for surgery, and the obese will have to lose weight.

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  1. The restrictions mean those with a Body Mass Index of 30 or more will be set targets to reduce their weight by 10 per cent over nine months, with those with a BMI over 40 will be told to cut their weight by 15 per cent.

    They’re using the BMI for this? Yes! Finally, vindication. The science of the BMI is settled. (Even though this is really just a cost saving measure and a way to justify the long queues and in no way related to health.)

    1. The War On Swole never ends.

      1. Hundreds of thousands of British powerlifters hardest hit.

    2. Indeed. Finally, vindication from a huge, inefficient government bureacracy. Just the sort of confirmation we’ve been waiting for.

    3. Clearly then this is symbolic, as the loss of just that amount won’t in many cases take the patient out of that category of obesity. The idea is to prove themselves worthy, not to improve the surgical outcome.

  2. Taste the freedom and security of socialism.

  3. Free health care is pushed by people who are resentful against society for creating them in the first place. It’s their revenge – “I will make you pay for my suffering!” UK is creating a whole new class of people who were literally born of free health care. I’m scared for them.

  4. I bet this type of thing wouldn’t happen here.

  5. The CCGs said: “This policy is designed to improve patient safety and outcomes, both during and immediately after non-urgent surgery. No financial savings are expected as a result of these measures.
    In a consultation on the changes, the health bodies said they faced a ?550m health and social care funding gap by 2021 unless they took action.

    Choose one from column A, and one from column B.

    Welcome to the revolution. Repeal Obamacare completely.

  6. So, in the UK do they still have some private practices so that responsible people can skip the lines and get decent care in a timely manner? Or do responsible Brits have to leave the country for that?

    Also… isn’t this just another step towards so-called “death panels”?

    1. Actually this is a literal death panel, and the UK has had them since they socialized their medicine. It’s a necessarily component of centrally planned healthcare.

  7. “Smokers will have to give up smoking for at least eight weeks before their will be scheduled for surgery, and the obese will have to lose weight.”

    Quit smoking AND lose weight at the same time. What could be easier?

    1. Well, doesn’t the NHS provide programs for doing both?

  8. Who had predicted socialist death panels would determine life and death in socialist health care systems?

    1. I know this one.

  9. Note: This is only for non-urgent surgery. Keep smoking and over-eating long enough and you’ll need urgent surgery. Gaming the system!

    1. There seems to be a disconnect on what “non-urgent” surgery is. Is it surgery that does not need to be done in 24 hours or what is the criteria?

      I also remember seeing that non-urgent surgeries are already back logged by months anyway.

      Good ‘ol government intervention shrinks supply of medical care even when there is a higher demand.

      1. “Good ‘ol government intervention shrinks supply of medical care even when there is a higher demand.”

        Wait, I thought gov’t regulations trumped the laws of economics, because voters.

  10. I’d like to see what they consider “non-urgent” surgery. There are legitimate concerns with smoking harming recovery, especially for orthopedic surgery, and the main back surgeon I deal with through work generally requires patients to agree to stop smoking for 6 weeks post-surgery. But there’s no way to force the client to stick to that, and I have seen poor outcomes for patients who kept smoking (though admittedly back surgery is a bit of a crapshoot anyway, so it’s hard to say to what extent the smoking actually made a difference).

    For obesity, requiring the patient to lose a specific percent is bogus. If they’re going to have a standard, it should either be individualized (considering multiple factors besides BMI), or it should be a set BMI. Someone with a BMI of 45 who loses 15% is still a lot more likely to experience complications than someone with a BMI of 31 who doesn’t lose any weight.

  11. Obesity and smoking are certainly major risk factors for failure of surgery, and in some cases surgeons absolutely should refuse to operate unless the patient quits smoking or lose weight because the risk of failure of surgery and other complications is too high. However, it depends on the circumstances. An arthropladty of a hammertoe, is not the same as one scope, is not the same as a knee replacemw6, is not the same as a spinal fusion. A 22 year old of average health who’s been smokingvdor 4 or 5 years is not th e same as an obese diabetic smoker who’s been smoking for 50 years. Some surgeries may be technically “non- urgent” but the underlying condition will still cause major problems for the patient, others really aren’t all that urgent, even if you’d prefer to get it taken care of sooner than later. Some are riskier than others. This kind of thing needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis by the surgeon. The surgeons I know have no problem turning down patients if they have too many risk factors to make the cost/benefits analysis worthwhile. They have no desire to be struggling with non-healing bones and wounds and failed procedures for months after they operate.

    Also I kind of wonder what counts as non-urgent anyway. Do biopsies or wound debridements count? What about delayed treatment of traumatic injuries?

  12. I love it, the more humane health care system tells people to hit the gym while waiting for their hip replacement.

  13. Leftists here imagine that single payer socialized healthcare would resemble that of a mythical Canada, one they’ve read about but never visited. In reality it would resemble that of Great Britain, where they literally have death panels deciding who deserves care and who does not.

    Do I sound depressed on this forum today? Fuck I’m depressed. I’m just starting to realize that this shit is going to hit me just as I retire. I’ll be the old fart the system toes out to the iceberg because I’m a drain on their social goodness. Fuckers.

  14. Not a UK expert, but isn’t the entire idea of sin taxes to compensate for higher health care costs?

    Now you pay the surcharges, AND you don’t get the care you arguably already paid for? #deathpanels

    “In a civilized century, Ferris, in a civilized century!

    1. No, the goal of ‘sin taxes’ is to reap more revenue for the state. ‘Sin taxes’ are popular with the moralists who see the tax as a just punishment for the “wicked” who eat/drink/smoke/do things they don’t like (but can’t ban). In addition, liberals like the additional revenue it brings to the state to fund government to do MORE for (actually to) ‘the people’…

  15. What about bariatric surgery?

  16. Not a nice way to save money, but I guess with all those ‘refugees’ on the dole something must be done
    I can’t wait to see how they’ll take care of the older folks

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