Tuesday 31 December 2013

Healthy Living - Happy New Year

Here we are again. You know feel like a fat oink. You just know you ate too much of the wrong stuff at Christmas, you didn't do enough exercise and, well, let's not think about your liver.

A resolution, you know, that's the solution. We are all wicked and pursue an evil assault on our bodies. As a result the NHS is struggling to cope with all you damn evil unhealthy people. Diet, detox, give up smoking, alcohol, chocolate, fried food and everything else that is bad for you. Book into a gym, go for a run three times a week and get out those rust covered weights from the shed. Turn over a new leaf, it's the thing you must do, else you will die at an early age from some-thing-or-other.

Really? Well, I don't buy it. Sure, I do feel a little bloated after Christmas. I did give up smoking a few years ago, and I'm quite proud of that. Yes, stopping smoking will almost certainly mean I'll live longer. I also don't spend money on tobacco, what a waste on money that is. But if that's what you want, go on, why not?

Because we're told that unhealthy lifestyles cost the NHS money, that's why you shouldn't smoke, or drink, or eat bacon, or burgers. So, stop your damn smoking and drinking.

But wait. 70 years ago when the NHS was formed, we spent around 4% of GDP on the NHS. Today it is around 8%. It is forecast to get to approaching 13% in the next 50 years, depending on what forecast you look at. No one is forecasting a drop, not even those silly people that would like to make it so.

There are of course all sorts of reasons for this increase in NHS costs. The fact that technology is increasing in it's ability to treat previously untreatable illnesses. The fact that we feel healthcare is worth more than just money, so perhaps we should treat, if the technology is available, irrespective of cost.

Now, I'm not here to make some sort of political point over the NHS. I've no doubt someone will jump in the comments and do so, but I'd rather not get tangled up in that nasty little argument. Needless to say, funding what I believe to be a fantastic health care model into the future is a headache, and no mistake.

But, it does annoy me that we are told smoking, drinking and eating bad food is costing the NHS money. IT IS NOT. (FFS!!!!) - one of the reasons the NHS costs us more money is because people are living longer, due to the general public living healthier. We smoke less, we drink less, we eat more healthily, as a general rule. An ageing population, that lives longer due to constant mind control to improve healthy living produces an ageing population that has a greater burden on healthcare.

Back in the bad old days everyone smoked and drank themselves to death, mortality was greater, life expectancy was shorter. There were not so many old people around, clogging up GPs waiting rooms with ailments.

So, I'm off for a skinful, it's New Years Eve after all. Then next week I might go for a run or two, and try and manage my five-a-day, but I'll not bother with any of this silly detox nonsense, that's for sure.

"If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer." - Clement Freud.


Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Thanks Anon, interesting. However, which ever way you look at statistics like that it is still only the short-term view. The long term effect of healthy living increases costs to the NHS, and perhaps just as relevant, support and long term care.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Amen! We're just about to commence an all day and all night lock-in.