A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over the NHS's growing use of "lifestyle rationing".But then I came to the details of the survey. The majority was a narrow one (54%) and there was worse. This was not a representative sample.
Doctors.net.uk, a professional networking site, found that 593 (54%) of the 1,096 doctors who took part in the self-selecting survey answered yes when asked: "Should the NHS be allowed to refuse non-emergency treatments to patients unless they lose weight or stop smoking?"So a self-selecting group of under 600 doctors, no doubt of the body fascist persuasion, are portrayed as the whole medical profession. This is precisely how the media use dubious surveys uncritically in order to write a sensational story. Mind you, the important argument is political not clinical. It is that universal services are precisely that, universal. And they are certainly not provided on the basis of a selective morality based on conformity to the latest fads.