Friday, 7 January 2011

A large weight on the NHS

Malnutrition costs the NHS (according to the Department of Guesstimates) a staggering £13.5 billion a year. Like me you’ve probably just skipped over that figure without really registering the amount. It’s almost impossible to visualise that much money. Well, if you consider that the coalition’s welfare cuts are going to save a paltry £3 billion, then £13.5 billion is an astronomical sum. So, can the NHS really be spending that sort of money sorting out the fallout from poor dietary habits?

I’m assuming this figure is encompassing the cost of medical care from every person suffering from heart disease, dodgy joints, diabetes and any other illness however vaguely connected to food. Obviously the figure also includes treatment for bulimics and anorexics as well as the case of one Paul Mason.

The 50-year old is now a relatively sylphlike 37stone (235kg) down from a staggering 70stone (445kg) and obviously a dead cert for Slimmer of the Year. Mr Mason didn’t lose weight all on his own, however. He was fortunate enough to have been fitted with a gastric band (or should that be an orchestra?) when his weight threatened to kill him.

Now Mr Mason is suing the NHS for compensation because he feels he wasn’t given the dietary advice that he asked for soon enough. At one point Mr Mason was hovering up an astonishing 20,000 calories a day and funding his compulsive habit by stealing money from letters at a sorting office. He then persuaded his mother to take out a second mortgage to keep the larder topped up.

A typical day's food for Mr Mason included a breakfast of an entire packet of bacon, four sausages and four eggs complete with bread and hash browns. Lunch was four portions of fish and chips along with a couple of kebabs while his evening meal would consist of roast dinners, curries, pizza and more chips. Daily snacks of 40 packets of crisps, sausage rolls and pasties damped down his hunger and helped his weight to balloon.

Mr Mason claims that any compensation he receives from the NHS will go towards helping other obese people to control their eating habits. Perhaps they’ll all go out for a curry to swop bingeing tales.

The care that Mr Mason has received so far from the NHS has cost the public purse an eye-watering £1 million, around £100,000 a year. When he originally asked for help, Mr Mason’s GP apparently suggested he ride his bike more often. By the time he was tipping the scales at a gargantuan 64 stone, Mr Mason was sent to a dietician.

And before anyone accuses this larger-than-life character of being a whinger, Mr Mason told The Sun newspaper: “I want to set a precedent so no one else has to get to the same size - and to put something back into society.”

Very public spirited of him, no?


  1. I hope somebody does tell him to get on his bike.

  2. I don't think there are too many bikes that could handle that kind of weight. Better advice would have been, "Stay away from Japanese whalers".

  3. He may already be on his bike - how could you tell? :)

  4. In the US he could have his own reality show or be on "the Biggest Loser" which is a weight loss show dudes, though it could also be construed as meaning something less, altruist.

    I honestly don't know how they get that big. It isn't like it happens over a period of a couple of months or even years. After a while it really isn't "sneaking" up on them. There is a point that it is REALLY obvious that you aren't the same size you were at 20yrs. (hopefully you weren't 600 pounds then)

    I'm all for those people repaying the costs after they either die (from what little estate they would have) or slim down enough to get a job.

  5. I am a compassionate man for people but I watched this with a morbid horror that a man could eat himself into this state and blame everyone but himself for stuffing his face with so much food and not have the common sense to realise that when reaching 25 or 30 stone it was time to stop and yet he ate so much he tipped the scale at 70 stone and still blames everyone. Even his sisters do not talk to him after he moved in with his mother and she had to remortgage her house to keep up with paying for his food demands and then she lost the house through being unable to pay yet he blames everyone. When he realises his predicament, the operations, the loss of his freedom to move, the loss of his 12 hour a day care, the cutting in half of his £700 a week carers allowance (not the many other free payments he gets) what does he do? Blubs away at every opportunity whilst still getting his house, his council tax, £350 carers allowance and much more for free and never accepting that HE is to blame for the state he is in.
    I know he must be hurting, especially after having 2 stone lumps of fat, flesh and folds of skin cut off during operations, but how he has the face to sue when he has been living free in a house with personal carers and now has a large mobility scooter to let him wander around the town I just don’t know. It is like a alcoholic saying that he was never told that constant drinking of 3 bottles of Vodka a day will harm you.
    The lunatics have taken over the asylum if he wins his case.

  6. Just makes me so angry reading about his "complaint" - did he not realise he could simply stop shovelling so much food down his mouth?? Just another one jumping onto the blame culture wagon, and not stopping to think HE is actually to blame. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  7. Am I alone in thinking that, if God forbid this gannet does win his case, he'll be earmarking some of that to paying off his mother's second mortgage?

    This guy makes me angry: he steals from his employers (and, by the very nature of that theft, the general public), coerces his mother into further debt, leeches off the tax payers' money and now wants a further payout.

    Whatever happened to taking responsibility for one's own actions?

  8. I pity the poor buggers who had to lift him off that bed to wipe his arse!

  9. Who actually got him the food and fed it to him?? Surely there is responsibility all round?

  10. I completely see this man's point of view. Yes, he wasn't right to blame everyone but if he's been going to his doctor through out weight gain why the hell was nothing done about it? If you have a drinking problem putting down the bottle is hard and requires a lot of help. So is the same with food in regards to somebody reliant on it.

    Obesity isn't always about somebody being 'greedy'. There is a huge pyschological factor to it. When I was a child I developed Binge Eating Disorder. I was depressed, I was unloved, eating helped. I ballooned up in weight despite complaining to my GP early but all I got was 'you don't look over weight'. I wasn't even diagnosed professionally despite being seen by a Psychologist for over a year because how could eating be related to an 'eating disorder'? I would spend all my money on food, I hid it, would search the bin for the sweets I'd thrown out in a moment of disgust. It was only until I got some proper mental health care that I was able to over come it. If someone had told me to stop eating I wouldn't of been able to. Just like an alcholic, it helped numb the pain of what was essentially an unhappy childhood. While I was eating, I didn't need to think and when I was full I felt loved. If the food was taken away I couldn't cope and would often hurt myself in a frenzy.

    Society needs to stop viewing obsesity as some sort of digusting 'habit' people simply get on with because they have a flawed character. What did that man swallow when he was eating his food? Was he swallowing down all of his fears, all of the wasted years and rotten ambitions? People don't JUST do that to themselves. It's a slow suicide and no one in their right mind would bring it upon themselves. I have yet to come across an obsese person who has not gotten into the state they have by using food as an unhealthy coping mechanism.

    Yes, sympathy can come easily when you can see ribs but nobody wants to love you when you are fat and ugly. Nobody cares about you then because you must be 'lazy', a 'greedy' and 'selfish' person. It's only when you get so fat you are in danger of harming yourself that people take any notice.

    If a persons state of mind were taken into consideration much earlier on then these horrors would never occur because that person wouldn't feel the need to do it. The NHS need to realize the state of someones mental health has a dramatic effect on their physical well being and vice versa.