Anorak News | Obesity, Booze And Fags Don’t Cost The NHS Money: They Save It

Obesity, Booze And Fags Don’t Cost The NHS Money: They Save It

by | 9th, June 2014



IT’S rather sad to see the people who actually run the NHS being so confused about the realities of that very NHS. The latest being this idea that all of us becoming fat lardbuckets will mean that the NHS runs out of money. So, therefore, we’ve all got to be dragooned into eating less so as to save the taxpayer.

The problem with this is that fatties don’t cost the NHS cash, they save it. Here’s the standard story:

Dame Sally writes: “While the guidance has prompted a lot of debate, we cannot lose sight of how important it is that people get the right support they need to tackle excess weight. If they do not, we will all be picking up a much larger bill in the future.

“The latest estimate of the cost to the NHS of overweight or obesity-related conditions is £5.1 billion each year and there is a great cost to society and the wider economy. Then there is the cost to the individual. Obesity is the leading cause of serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and it is estimated that about 10 per cent of all deaths each year in England can be attributed to being overweight and obese.”

Overdosing on bacon butties might well cause 10% of all deaths. And there’s certainly a cost to those who dies from being rollmops of fat. But that is what is known as a “private” cost. That cost is carried by those who die. The mistake is to think that there is also a public cost to their dying. To think that it costs the NHS more to treat them for example. This is not true, the true story is this:

Although effective obesity prevention leads to a decrease in costs of obesity-related diseases, this decrease is offset by cost increases due to diseases unrelated to obesity in life-years gained. Obesity prevention may be an important and cost-effective way of improving public health, but it is not a cure for increasing health expenditures.

The lifetime costs were in Euros:

Healthy: 281,000

Obese: 250,000

Smokers: 220,000

We’re all going to die of something. And the NHS is going to continue to treat us until we do. And as it happens, the longer they have to treat us the more it costs. It is thus the healthy people that cost the NHS more. To be crude about it, that person who dies of diabetes at 70, of an exploding liver or lung cancer, doesn’t then need the hip replacement at 80. Nor a decade of sheltered care for Alzheimer’s.

This doesn’t mean that they should encourage the eatin’, smokin’ n’ boozin’, for there are those private costs. But if we’re to talk about public costs, the ones the taxpayers have to stump up for, then we should be honest about what they are.

There is no justification for making people thin to save the NHS money. For fat people do not cost the NHS more, they cost it less.

Posted: 9th, June 2014 | In: Money, Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink