No 'two-tier' NHS2nd January 2008
The government has said people with "unhealthy lifestyles" would not be denied treatment as part of proposed NHS reforms.
Health minister Ann Keen told BBC News 24 that patients would be given encouragement to live in a "responsible" manner.
There had been media speculation that obese patients or people who smoke might be denied medical treatment. Mrs Keen said this was not the case and stated: "No-one is suggesting that at all."
New reforms have been proposed as part of Lord Darzi's review of the health service. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said a constitution would define patients' "rights and responsibilities".
Mrs Keen said the majority of the population "actually want to live a healthy lifestyle".
"They also don't want to be lectured at to do that - they want help to do that," she said.
She added that the health service was "at its best" when it acted to prevent ill health and patients were given help to achieve good health.
She said patients would be offered advice on how they could improve their health - for example giving up smoking before an operation.
Michael Summers, the vice-chair of the Patients Association, told the BBC he was worried that the NHS might in the future offer treatment which was "conditional".
The Prime Minister sent a New Year message to NHS staff which offered his thanks to them for their "achievements". He also said that changes were ahead in 2008 to combat hospital superbugs and improved access to treatment.
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Title: No 'two-tier' NHS
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 5188
Date Added: 2nd Jan 2008