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Op-Ed: A GP and his unusual medical ideas

By Alexander Baron     Nov 27, 2012 in Lifestyle
Bracknell - Phillip Lee is Conservative MP for Bracknell; he is also a general practitioner. Lately, the poor man appears to have become confused: he can't tell the difference between the Palace of Westminster and his surgery.
Phillip Lee has been an MP for two and a half years, and like most MPs he hasn't made much of an impression at the national level. Until now. Unfortunately, he has done so for all the wrong reasons. Recently he suggested that people who suffered from lifestyle-related diseases should pay for their own drugs. Unsurprisingly, this suggestion has gone down rather well with the toffs at The Spectator, most notably blogger Isabel Hardman. This will come as no surprise to those au fait with this magazine and its readership: career academics, the literary elite, and many others who are paid megabucks for doing what most of us would not regard as work.
Dr Lee was featured on the BBC's local news programme tonight where his ideas were given a far less enthusiastic reception across the board. His first target would be people who suffer from type 2 diabetes, which is caused by the body's failure to produce enough insulin - or alternatively by drinking far too much alcohol.
The only problem with this sort of pseudo-moral approach to medicine is everything. Yes, if people had to pay for their own drugs at the point of use, there would certainly be less of a drain on the NHS at the good doctor's surgery, but let's take this a bit further.
Let's start with type 2 diabetes; this is not entirely a lifestyle disease - and it is certainly not a lifestyle choice. To begin with, blacks are more susceptible to it than whites - which raises the spectre of that most heinous of social ills, racism. Leaving that aside, almost any disease, condition or injury can be deemed a lifestyle choice. Here are a few:
Broken leg - soccer players and many other sportsmen - well, you shouldn't try so damned hard to keep fit; that'll be £200 please.
Black eye, fractured jaw and broken nose - battered wife - serves you right, you stupid tart; your mother told you not to marry that loser - that'll be £750 please.
Knife in the abdomen - Constable Brown, I warned you not to confront burglars; you should have gone to that Chelsea match instead, then you could have nicked John Terry for mouthing an epithet no one heard. That'll be £12,000 for the operation please, but I'll take a Police Federation cheque.
Food poisoning - It's your own fault for eating shellfish - £150 for the stomach pumping, please.
Is that enough?
All right then, one more. Pick one from here, but try not to throw up at the thought of the miserable creature diagnosed with gonorrhea of the anus and both gonorrhea and chlamydia of the throat.
Yes, lung cancer can be construed as a smoking-related disease, but living in certain cities or certain countries, or working in certain professions can increase your chances of contracting all manner of infections.
Dr Lee would do better to remember that famous maxim Primum non nocere before opening his mouth on medical matters while wearing his other hat, which judging by the reaction he received on the BBC local news programme tonight, he may not be wearing after the next general election.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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