Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Friday, 30 December 2011

“No Doctor – it’s My Back that Hurts!”

A new initiative that is set to be published on the 10th January will encourage medical practitioners to enquire into a patients eating, drinking and smoking habits even when they have booked an appointment about a totally unrelated issue in a “make every contact count” policy.

The initiative will apply not only to doctors, but will be extended to nurses, physiotherapists, midwives and pharmacists. The idea has been welcomed with open arms by most in the medical profession.

One argument on why a podiatrist should impart advice on the dangers of smoking, for instance, is that if that patient has diabetes, smoking can make the diabetes worse and heighten the risk of having a foot amputated.

Makes sense – but where would it stop?

Should a man visiting a doctor about high cholesterol be given advice on gambling addiction because gambling debts have adverse mental affects which could lead to over-indulging in foods or alcohol by way of comforting oneself?

Probably not now gambling advertising bombards our airwaves incessantly.

Moreover, this initiative seems to presume that there is a high proportion of the population who are unaware that excessive drinking, eating and smoking is bad for one’s health. I find this hard to believe. The majority who are risking their health in such ways are doing so regardless of the health concerns.

This is the real issue.

Instead of improving the overall health of our nation, it is more likely that the “make every contact count” policy will compound the general feeling of state interference into people’s personal lives and deter them from seeking genuinely required medical advice. “I already know I drink too much, smoke too much and eat too many fatty foods… Oh – I don’t want to get told off! I think I’ll just weather these back spasms, see if they go…”

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