Patients who lead unhealthy lifestyles could be forced to wait for treatment on the NHS or else seek private healthcare, as those with 'self-inflicted' illnesses may not be viewed as priorities in future, a newspaper has claimed.
According to a report in the Independent, obese patients, smokers and those suffering from alcohol-related illnesses may be placed further down the waiting list unless they make efforts to improve their lifestyle.
An estimated £1.7 billion is spent directly on health problems linked to alcohol each year, although alcohol-related violent crime and traffic accidents cost an additional £20 billion.
One fifth of Britain's adults and a quarter of children are overweight and around 14,000 of the UK's 12 million smokers die each year from smoking-related illnesses.
The proposals aim to reduce the billions of pounds that are spent each year on people with self-inflicted illnesses by encouraging people to take up healthy habits, freeing up money to be spent in other areas.