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Save the NHS – Penalising Bad Health is the Only Way

We can all recognise the strain that we are placing on the NHS. With the state of the economy it is getting to the stage where we as a nation must take drastic action to ensure the long term future of our National Health Service.

Friends Provident Report

A report conducted by Friends Provident and Future Foundation for the Visions of Britain 2020 campaign has stated that to retain a free NHS legislation will need to be introduced to restrict unhealthy behaviour including smoking, excessive alcohol and fatty food consumption.

Many experts have criticised the government health campaigns feeling they have had little effect on persuading individuals to lead healthier lifestyles. With nowhere else to turn the report argues that penalties are the most likely solution to this epidemic.

Dr Sarah Brewer says, “We all know that we should follow a healthy low-fat diet, eat at least 5-a day etc. But how many actually do anything about it? Unless an unhealthy diet and lifestyle is penalised in some way no-one will change."

Part of the consumer research undertaken as part of the report has indicated that the public recognise the need for penalties. The report found almost half would support a minimum price on alcohol or the introduction of a 'fat' tax. There was also further discussion and agreement from a third of respondents that the NHS should not priorities people who fail to look after their health.

New consumer research completed for the report indicates that the public recognise the need for penalties. Almost half claim to support a minimum price on alcohol or the introduction of a fat tax, and a third agree that the NHS should not prioritise people that fail to look after their health.

One in five claim to adhere to government guidelines

With all this support for taxes and penalties it is interesting to see how few are willing to look after their health purely for their own quality of life. Less than one in five claim to adhere to government guidelines on calorie intake and exercise. Just one in three follow official guidelines on alcohol consumption.

Trevor Matthews of Friends Provident says, “There will be a fundamental and permanent change in the provision of free healthcare in the next decade. The study identifies a disconnect between our aspirations for healthcare, and our behaviour. We all need to adopt healthier lifestyles or else risk being faced with penalties in the years ahead."

The report may well be seen as controversial and a touch naive generalising the actions and motives of society as a whole. It is a crying shame that the health of the nation is as bad as it is, the education needs to take place at a young age to instill good eating and exercising habits and the for them to form as habits rather than a fad.

Sarah provided an excellent and informative service.

Arthur Coates
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