During my lifetime there seems to have been an enormous decline in the number of people who are willing to take personal responsibility for themselves. No longer will anyone who suffers a misfortune accept that this might be a result of their own actions, someone else is to blame.
The latest organisation to support this concept is the Centre for Social Justice which said that wine, beer and spirits bought in off-licenses and supermarkets should be subject to a levy of a penny per unit to fund rehabilitation for alcoholics.
Why? Why should we all be charged to pay for the treatment of those who don't have the responsibility to look after themselves? In my view anyone who attends A&E as a result of either drink or drugs should be made to pay for their own treatment.
The problem with such a policy is there is no knowing where it might end. Obesity is a matter of increasing concern and today some of the media highlighted the number of teenagers awaiting surgery. The cost of gastric band operations is difficult to ascertain from the media, prices of between five and ten thousand pounds being mentioned, although it is not clear whether this also includes aftercare.
So following the logic of a tax on alcohol to cover treatment, why not take it a step further and have a tax on junk-food, sugar and all the other foods stated to be the causes of obesity in order to fund gastric band operations? Where does it end?
If you take out insurance to cover you or your property against possible misfortunes there is always a clause requiring you to make your best endeavours to safeguard your insured items, whether it is your person or your home. Few holiday insurance policies will pay out if you end up in hospital as a result of being drunk. If you want to engage in some risky holiday activity, you will be expected to pay an additional premium, as indeed I do because of my age.
Why shouldn't the NHS take a similar approach? If there is good reason to believe that you are responsible for your own misfortune, surely it is reasonable to make a charge. Why should we all pay for your irresponsibility? I like my quite regular drop of Scotch, but I don't drink to excess and have never had to have any medical treatment because of my drinking. Indeed my doctor, not so long ago, suggested that a glass of wine of an evening would help me to relax and sleep better and would probably do me less harm than any pills that he might prescribe.
I take responsibility for myself, as do most people of my age for as long as they are capable; I resent the thought of paying for those who have abrogated any personal responsibility.
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