NHS will only treat responsible patients

Heavy drinkers, smokers and obese people will not receive treatment from the NHS under news plans. The rules are part of a proposal to be announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that will outline the “rights and responsibilities” of patients.

The plan is expected to provoke controversy as it ends the NHS’s founding principle of free care for all but the Government believes that banning patients with unhealthy lifestyles from receiving treatment could save the service billions of pounds.

Brown will reveal the proposals in a New Year speech to health workers today (January 2). Some UK hospitals already refuse to treat people with unhealthy lifestyles but there are currently no national guidelines on such cases.

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