Medical care in this society is a complex issue as many people struggle with availability of health care due to loss of jobs and insurance benefits. In the United Kingdom they have a National Health System (NHS) for people who need to rely on public health care.
Professor Martyn Evans of Durham University in the UK; made comments regarding the responsible use of the National Health System in the publication “State of Healthcare” annual report published on December 10, 2008.
Professor Evans pointed out that people who want access to free health care provided by the National Health Service (NHS) should behave more responsibly.
Patients should recognize they have to take responsibility for their own health if they want access to free healthcare. Patients should comply with ten moral duties, requiring them to look after themselves and other people around them. Patients should use access to public health care in a responsible way.
NHS resources are being drained by people who neglect their health and the health of others.
Professor Evans stated in a press release, “Widespread behavior that is adverse to health and to the effectiveness of the NHS, such as binge drinking and missing GP appointments, is on the increase. There is clearly a need to state more clearly the responsibilities patients have to secure the future of the free public healthcare system.
Professor Evans noted that most people have no control of when and how they get sick. There are many people who do fall ill because of lifestyle choices and lack of regard for their own health and the health of others.
Lifestyle choices that may contribute to poor health include smoking, binge drinking, and poor nutrition, lack of exercise and lack of sleep.
Professor Evans has published an academic paper that outlines patient duties, suggesting that individual patients should cooperate with medical advice and treatment plans, be courteous to NHS staff and follow health promotion guideline.
Good health practices could help to speed recovery and would make the health care system more efficient, freeing the system to care for other patients who need access to medical treatments.
Professor Evans noted that many people have no choice but to rely on the public health care but that patients should cooperate with medical professionals to make sure that public health resources are used most effectively.
Following are theten moral duties that Professor Evans has outlined in his paper.
1. Participate in a ‘healthcare jurisdiction’
2. Uphold his or her own health
3. Protect the health of others
4. Seek and access healthcare responsibly
7. Inpatient conduct
8. Recovery or maintenance
9. Research participation
People who take care of their own health and the health of others make better use of the National Health System, cut the costs of overall medical care and free up the system to serve other patients.
Durham University Martyn Evans, Eureka Alert
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