The UK has finally implemented an unofficial Fat Bastard Tax, by refusing fatties surgery, preferring instead to treat people who aren’t obese.
Obese people will be routinely refused operations across the NHS, health service bosses have warned, after one authority said it would limit procedures on an unprecedented scale.
Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.
The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the “most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing will become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.
Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, which represents acute care, ambulance and community services, said: “I think we are going to see more and more decisions like this.
“It’s the only way providers are going to be able to balance their books, and in a way you have to applaud their honesty. You can see why they’re doing this – the service is bursting at the seams.”
Under the latest restrictions, patients in the catchment area who have a BMI of 30 or more will be barred from routine surgery for non-life-threatening conditions for a year, although they may secure a referral sooner if they shed 10 per cent of their weight.
A BMI – weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared – of 30 is the point at which a person is classed as obese and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be classified as such by 2050.
The BMI is a blunt instrument, but some sort of measure is needed to combat fat bastards fatness. Sugar taxes and Fat taxes won’t work because these behemoths shove food into their bodies faster than they can work it off sitting on the couch.
Smokers who refuse to quit will have planned operations postponed for six months, but may be included on surgeons’ waiting lists earlier by proving they have given up for at least eight weeks.
The ban will not apply to cancer patients, or those with some conditions that could becoming life-threatening, or if exceptional circumstances can be shown.
The restrictions echo others made by health bosses in Hertfordshire, the North West and London in the past two years, where blanket referral bans were imposed on patients on the basis of their weight.
A spokesman for NHS England added: “Major surgery poses much higher risks for severely overweight patients who smoke. So local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups are entirely right to ensure these patients first get support to lose weight and try and stop smoking before their hip or knee operation. Reducing obesity and cutting smoking not only benefits patients, but saves the NHS and taxpayers millions of pounds.
“This does not and cannot mean blanket bans on particular patients such as smokers getting operations, which would be inconsistent with the NHS constitution.
The solution is simple. A Fat Bastard Tax, tax the fat bastard not the ingredients in their food. The public health troughers who campaign on all this like to use measures which are successful against the tobacco industry.
I wonder when Fat Bastards will be banned from eating in staff cafeterias, forced to eat on the streets in the middle of winter, and made pariahs in every public establishment.