PoliticsHome’s transcript of Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s Sky News interview today:
Mr. Lansley said smokers and the obese may be told to quit before they can have access to surgery.
"We’ve got to have a more effective process for helping people make decisions and taking responsibilities. If they don’t take responsibilities for their own help, the demands will be progressively moredifficult to handle later on."
Smokers and the "morbidly obese" may be "told that they have to stop before they can have access to operations." "We do have to understand that the demands are intense, will get greater as the population gets progressively more elderly and that will burden the NHS more.
"At the end of the day it comes down to people’s willpower and decision making."
3.45pm: CCHQ have asked that we publish the whole of Mr Lansley’s remarks believing that the context answers the question at the top of this post:
“We already have, in many places across the country, a situation where smokers, are told, very clearly, that they have to stop before they have access to operations. Its dangerous for them and the same would be true for people, for example, with morbid obesity who are very, very heavily overweight. It’s just not going to be possible, for example for them to have access sometimes to surgery, to deal with the heart failure consequences of their being very obese and therefore they’re going to have to think very hard about what the consequences might be for them. But I do hope actually what I’ve been saying in recent weeks is that we do need a much greater focus on delivering a National Health Service, which actually isn’t confined to what the NHS does but it will all of us actually think about how can deliver better health and taking greater personal responsibility.
No, we’re not going to put people to the back of the queue but we will make it clear that there’s no point, for example trying to have operations where people are also smoking and that just makes it all the more likely that they will have complications and a re-occurrence of disease. So people do have to recognise that they do have that specific responsibility, but, like with people with who we identify they have a lung cancer, which may be the consequence of smoking, we don’t say ‘we’re not going to treat you’, we should treat people and the NHS should be there for everybody, that’s in the nature of this great institution that celebrated its 60th anniversary. We’ve all contributed over our lifetimes, we all rely upon the National Health Service and we have a legitimate expectation it will be there when we need it.”