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Public fed up with lifestyle losers’ drain on NHS

An AXA PPP healthcare survey points to popular resistance to NHS spending on treatment of lifestyle related medical conditions.

Seventy-eight per cent of people believe that binge drinkers who end up in casualty as a result of their excesses should be charged to help pay for their hospital treatment – a sentiment with which 89% of retired people, 86% of the over-55s and 71% of students agree.

And, asked where spending could be reined in to help cut NHS costs, 34% specify treatment of drinking related conditions; 28% pick treatment of smoking related conditions and 26% go for stop-smoking aids such as patches. Twenty-six per cent say that obesity treatment should be cut.

Complementary medicine such as homeopathy and acupuncture is another popular candidate for the chop – 35% reckon the NHS should cut back spending on these. On the other hand, people strongly back NHS spending on hearing aids and dentistry – only 1% and 2% think that these should take a hit.

Fergus Craig of AXA PPP healthcare comments, “The idea that people should take greater personal responsibility for their health is popular. What our research also shows is what people really want is quicker diagnosis of serious illnesses such as cancer, shorter waiting lists, access to GPs out of surgery hours and long term care for the elderly.” 

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