People with lifestyle related diseases such as type 2 diabetes should be forced to pay for their prescriptions, according to Tory MP and practising GP Dr Phillip Lee.
The Thames Valley GP said that access to free medicines on the NHS will need to be limited because 21st century Britons are unwilling to put up with aches and pains in the way that the generation of wartime survivors did.
He said that the majority of patients for whom medication is prescribed are suffering from conditions which are predominantly to do with lifestyle. He added that some must learn to live healthier lives or help meet the cost of their care from their own pockets.
He said: ‘If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, fine, but there is a cost implication down the line,’ he said.
‘One statistic is that 25% of the NHS budget by 2025 will be for diabetes alone. This clearly isn’t a sustainable position.
‘So, I would suggest that one way of perhaps trying to move that locus of responsibility for healthcare from the state to the individual, would be in making it the case that you pay for your drugs at cost. By doing that you would then be attaching a consequence to lifestyle choice.”
Dr Lee was speaking as part of a series of presentations from members of the Free Enterprise Group ahead of next week’s Autumn Budget Statement.
Dr Lee said that the government and the public needed to recognise that the way the NHS had been set up for a generation of ‘stoic’ British people was now no longer viable and take steps to reform it accordingly, otherwise the health system faced what he alarmingly described as ‘collapse’.