Hannah Fearn writing in The Independent today – More than sixty leading doctors have attacked the Conservative Party’s plans to examine whether people with mental health, drug or alcohol problems should be forced to take up treatment.
Top figures in health care, including the psychoanalyst Susie Orbach (pictured), say the manifesto pledge to consider reducing or withdrawing benefits for those who refuse treatment “undermines a fundamental principle” of medical care – the ability to give informed consent.
The letter, signed by GPs, public health specialists and psychiatrists, argues that it is “wholly inappropriate to threaten the withdrawal of benefits in order to influence that decision”.
A spokesman for the Conservatives said: “It is not fair to ask hard-working taxpayers to fund the benefits of people who refuse to accept the support and treatment that could help them get back to a life of work.”
“Where on earth is this Tory party coming from? They are utterly opposed to putting the wellbeing of mentally ill and disabled people in front of their carte blanche authority to save money at their expense.”
Articles in several of the press today saying that a health watchdog is asking for plumbers and boiler engineers to report cold homes to the council to slash winter deaths.
Around 25,000 extra brits – many elderly – die during the coldest months of the year.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence wants workmen to call for help if properties are too chilly.
Advisers will then tell residents how to access cheaper energy bills, benefits or free insulation.
Experts want all council Health and Wellbeing boards to set up helplines. Hospitals and care home must also not send sick Brits back to unheated properties.
NICE’s Prof Gillian Leng said: “We must stop the revolving-door scenario where people are made ill by living in a cold home, go into hospital, but are discharged back to the cold home.”
Neil Scholfield of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council said Britain has the worst quality housing stock in the western world and eight million annual plumbing visits were a “massive opportunity to identify the vulnerable and direct them to help”.
Age UK says cold housing costs the NHS in England £1.36billion a year and many endure ill-health because they can’t afford heating.
“Can’t argue with this idea. Cheap to implement – cheap to run (I think?)”