Tuesday, 15 October 2013

It should read: "The NHS must treat working-class lifestyles not killer diseases"


Four in every five deaths in London today are due to unhealthy lifestyles, including factors such as smoking, alcohol, bad diets and a lack of exercise.

This simply isn’t true. Or rather we can’t demonstrate that this is true. Here’s the ONS on causes of death:

Around half a million people, representing less than one per cent of the total population, died in England and Wales in 2009. The vast majority of deaths occurred at older ages, with almost eight out of ten men and nearly nine out of ten women dying at age 65 or above.

It’s worth noting here that the annual number of deaths is as low as the number of deaths in the 1950s when there were significantly fewer people. So there are (per 1000 population) fewer people dying than ever before and the average age of death is higher than ever before. The chances are that it’s old age that’s killing people rather than a libertine lifestyle:

For those aged 80 years and above coronary heart disease and stroke were the leading causes of death for both men and women. For men, influenza and pneumonia appear amongst the top three leading causes of death; these illnesses also appeared as a leading cause of death for males in the youngest age-group, one to four years. For women, dementia was prominent among the leading causes of death in this oldest age group and it is notable that the total number of deaths for women aged 80 years and above exceeded the combined total of all deaths amongst females at younger ages.

So why is it that health ‘leadership’ is so keen to take on the evil choices we make rather than continue the work of getting better at managing heart conditions, better at treating cancer and better at responding to injury? Why finger lifestyle rather than the truth – that our longevity is placing an ever greater strain on health and care services?

Dr Andy Mitchell, Medical Director for NHS England is right when he says:

“London’s hospitals are at breaking point and the demand for health care will outstrip the funding available in just seven years unless we fundamentally change the way services are delivered."

But absolutely wrong when he tries to blame this problem on “...conditions that stem from what we are doing to ourselves.” 

This simply isn’t true – unless he means eating better, living healthier and surviving for longer.

The medical mafia has decided that it must correct our lifestyles. Not because a correction is needed but because that mafia has decided it disapproves of our lifestyles. Or, to be more specific, the lifestyles of people in lower socio-economic classes – you know the sort who drink beer, eat supermarket microwave burgers and drink fizzy-pop. For this health mafia the working classes really are a drain on society.



Klaus Kblog said...

Very good! But I don't think it's because the mafia "disapproves of our lifestyles" - it's because the medical establishment wants to cover up its own mega failures:


Radical Rodent said...

I suspect this could well be the thin edge of a wedge to separate people from the free-at-point-of-use philosophy of the NHS; demonise lifestyle as the cause of a person’s problems, then ensure that it becomes acceptable to refuse treatment as they continue to follow that lifestyle. It has already started, with smoking and smokers; soon, it will expand to drinkers; to the overweight (first the seriously obese, to be followed by a gradual reduction to “slightly overweight”); then the salt-takers; the “fizzy poppers” – the list will continue. Remember the words of Neimoller:

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

(Though, ironically, it is the very people who he champions who are following that very path!)

Anonymous said...

“...conditions that stem from what we are doing to ourselves.”

I was puzzled too but found out fairly recently that this theory emerged amongst the overlords of medicine sometime in the 50's and has been followed ever since.

It came to light in an unusual way.

"He said it is commonly thought that if modern humans could emulate pre-industrial or even pre-agricultural lifestyles, that atherosclerosis would be avoided"

You can imagine the surprise when they discovered the symptoms in 4,000 year old mummies of ordinary people who had lived precisely the life they prescribed.

Heart disease present in ancient mummies

"A study in The Lancet of 137 mummies up to 4,000 years old found a third had signs of atherosclerosis.

Most people associate the disease, which leads to heart attacks and strokes, with modern lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity.

But the findings may suggest a more basic human pre-disposition."

Even Ötzi

Initial Genetic Analysis Reveals Iceman Ötzi Predisposed to Cardiovascular Disease

"Not only was this genetic predisposition demonstrable in the 5,000-year-old ice mummy, there was also already a symptom in the form of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

And yet, in his lifetime, Ötzi was not exposed to the risk factors which we consider today to be the significant triggers of cardiovascular disease. He was not overweight and no stranger to exercise."

“The evidence that such a genetic predisposition already existed in Ötzi’s lifetime is of huge interest to us.

It indicates that cardiovascular disease is by no means an illness chiefly associated with modern lifestyles.”

You might find this interesting.

“Evil Habits” and “Personal Choices”: Assigning Responsibility for Health in the 20th Century


As John Knowles, (former president of the Rockefeller Foundation) put it: “The cost of sloth, gluttony, alcoholic intemperance, reckless driving, sexual frenzy, and smoking is now a national, not an individual responsibility.

This is justified as individual freedom—but one man's freedom in health is another man's shackle in taxes and insurance premiums”

Echoed in 1979

Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention:

“Personal health habits play critical roles in the development of many serious diseases and in injuries from violence and automobile accidents. Many of today's most pressing health problems are related to excesses—smoking, drinking, faulty nutrition, overuse of medications, fast driving, and relentless pressure to achieve” (U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare 1979, 14)."

So I doubt these new discoveries will make a ha'porth of difference.