SHOULD THE NHS TREAT SELF INFLICTED ILLNESSES AND INJURIES?
Hospitals are overcrowded and Doctors are struggling to keep up with masses of patients that
are thrown at them. A huge number of these people have self inflicted injuries and illnesses.
Many people believe that the NHS should not treat these people, others think that they should
and others are in-between, saying the NHS should charge them for its service that are free to
others. Those who say they should be treated say it’s the NHS’ duty to supply healthcare to
everyone, no matter who they are or what they have done. Those who say they shouldn’t be
treated argue that it’s their fault, they should accept the consequences. What exactly are some
of the other points for and against treating self inflicted injuries and illnesses and how does it
The NHS has many founding principles, the basic ideals that are mostly followed closely. Now a
key one of these principles is that the NHS should provide a comprehensive service available to
ALL. This counts for all people, no matter what their age, gender or religion is and it should
make no difference when it comes to the NHS providing them with healthcare. So if that is the
case, does this extend to if their particular illness is self inflicted? The service is available to all
and intended for all, so whether their illness is self inflicted or not shouldn’t matter. Your
average Joe who has never needed the NHS’ help(or so they would like to claim) would argue
that the NHS should simply just charge these people for healthcare, the NHS is still providing its
services to all, and it’s just charging some people for it. Well, that ties directly into my next
point and the next founding principle; Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an
individual’s ability to pay. So if someone ends up with liver cancer because of a drinking
problem but can’t afford something to eat that day, the NHS should only focus on the fact that
the person needed their services rather than that they are financially lacking. These founding
principles result in equality for all, which is a good thing for any circumstance but especially
healthcare, even more so when compared to the healthcare system in countries such as
America, where the quality of your healthcare is measured by the width of your wallet.
One messy area of the debate is what is defined as ‘self inflicted’. There would be a very
difficult grey area here, as self inflicted could be done on purpose, or by accident. What if the
person was involved in an accident that was their fault such as a fall? They could then be
charged for the treatment they receive if it became classed as ‘self inflicted’. Or what is
someone lied to their doctor about their symptoms in an effort to avoid the potential cost,
resulting in the person being diagnosed with something completely different to what they really
have, which could result in an even bigger problem. But reaching the conclusion of if it was s...