Friday, 7 January 2011
A large weight on the NHS
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?