Smoker versus hospital case

Wednesday 12 May 1999

ASH/ Press releases/


102 CliftonStreet, London EC2A 4HW Tel: (020) 7739 5902 Fax: (020) 7613 0531

Press release
12th May 1999
Action on Smoking
and Health

Smoker versus hospital case

Commenting on the case of a smoker suing twoWest Yorkshire hospital trusts for delaying his heart operation, Director of ASH, CliveBates, said:

“It’s the difference between delaying anoperation simply because someone is a smoker, and delaying because they have a worsephysical condition because they smoke. It is up to the doctors to make a clinicaljudgement on the value of treatment.”

“Different treatment does not necessarily meandiscrimination against smokers. It may simply reflect the worse physical condition of thepatient that has been a smoker. The NHS ought to spend its time money where it can do thegreatest possible good — and smoking makes it more likely that the operation willfail.”

“We don’t think that anyone should bebarred from treatment just because they smoke. The decision to operate must be based on aclinical judgement of the likely chances of success and the benefits of a successfuloperation — and this should apply equally to smokers and non-smokers.”



Contact Clive Bates, ASH Director (020) 7739 5902

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