Having a free NHS 'makes Brits too lazy to look after themselves'

Having a free NHS makes Brits too ‘lazy’ to look after themselves, top pharmacy boss claims

  • Pharmacy chain director there is little disincentive from becoming ill
  • Sam Patel said the lack of fees encourages people to accept a lower level of care
  •  READ MORE:  Reckless doctor strike only punishes patients

Having an NHS that is free at the point of use makes the public too ‘lazy’ to look after themselves, a leading pharmacy boss has claimed.

Sam Patel, a director of one of the UK’s largest pharmacy chains, warned the absence of fees means there is little disincentive from becoming ill.

It also encourages people to accept a lower level of care, he added.

Mr Patel is a director of Day Lewis Pharmacy, which runs more than 260 stores in the UK.

One of the firm’s fellow directors was among private healthcare leaders invited to a Downing Street health summit in January, which was led by Rishi Sunak and focused on tackling Covid backlogs.

Director of one of the UK’s largest pharmacy chains, Sam Patel, warned the absence of fees means there is little disincentive from becoming ill

He said it also encourages people to accept a lower level of care (stock image) 

Speaking at an event organised by strategy advisory firm Global Counsel, Mr Patel said: ‘Having an NHS fundamentally makes too many people lazy about taking care of their own health.

‘Anything that’s free we just accept a lower level of care.’ 

He said people should make sure they are ‘taking good care of ourselves with vitamins, minerals, supplements, staying fit’.

READ MORE: Giving pharmacies access to NHS medical records of customers would ‘enormously improve outcomes for patients’, Boots boss says

‘Many of you would have read a free newspaper on the tube or the train on the way here, and we know they’re not as good as the ones you pay for, but we still read the free one because its free,’ he added.

‘And it’s the same with the NHS, the jeopardy of feeling ill is not that bad because you get taken care of.

‘In other countries, even in emerging markets like India where my parents originally come from, people spend vast amounts to make sure they don’t get ill because there is jeopardy in doing so. 

‘We need to change the population’s mindset to take care of themselves.’ 

His comments come after the British Social Attitudes Survey last week revealed more people are dissatisfied than satisfied with the NHS for the first time, with levels of dissatisfaction doubling in two years.

Figures show overall 51 per cent of those questioned were dissatisfied with the NHS but Mr Patel said a separate poll by Ipsos Mori showed community pharmacists had an approval score of 91 per cent.

He said: ‘Pharmacy contractors have to deliver great service because if they don’t their financial security is on the line.’ 

The Day Lewis director also complained of the difficulty of getting the NHS to take up innovative ideas. 

He said while commercial business took significant risks when getting involved in projects with the NHS, the service suffered from a culture in which people were not hold accountable for delivery.

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