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Preventable conditions “are a drain on NHS resources”

8 October 2010

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Preventable conditions caused by drinking, smoking and obesity are a drain on NHS resources and people should do more to look after their health, according to Wales’s top doctor.

The NHS needs to be more efficient and to cut out waste to deal with increasing financial pressure, chief medical officer Dr Tony Jewell said in his annual report.

However, he mentioned the preventable conditions that the NHS is forced to pick up the cost of and said people had a responsibility to look after themselves.

He also said children should be protected from second-hand smoke through a ban of smoking in cars, while he pointed to an estimated 2,500 excess winter deaths in 2008/09, an increase of 74% on the previous year. Dr Jewell also called for the Assembly to have the power to tackle binge-drinking culture by introducing minimum prices for alcohol.

“Individuals must also do more for themselves,” said Dr Jewell. “We can only tell people so much of the harms of smoking and drinking and the importance of eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise.

“But more and more people require treatment for conditions related to obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse – preventable conditions that are draining the resources of the NHS.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Welsh Assembly Government – Chief Medical Officer