back to article Fire service may charge for shifting fat people

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has announced it may introduce a fee for shifting fat people, after a sharp rise in the number of heavyweight call-outs. According to the Telegraph, the service was last year summoned eight times to "assist other services in lifting obese patients" - double the 2004 figure. One crew had to …

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Anonymous Coward

Got enough tar?

Age: 25. Weight: 23 stone. Height: 6'2". Job: tech support. Wage £17k pa / take home £1,100 per month

Monthly Bills:

£350 Rent (shared) £100 Rates £250 Loan to buy car £200 Fuel £50 Insurance £150 Other / Misc expenses

=================

£1,050 Total

£50 Remainder to spend on food / leisure / anything else I need

Daily Activity: Wake at 6am Leave house at 6:45 2 Hour drive to work (assuming no delays on M4/M25) 9.5 Hour work day - Working at a desk, no gym for miles, attempted to take an hour’s walk each lunch time. 2 Hour drive home (assuming no delays on M4/M25) Home by 7 if I'm lucky, usually 8. Just enough time to eat something for dinner, talk to my partner and get to bed, ready to repeat tomorrow.

I lived this way for two years. Please, if anyone here can find time in there for exercising or money in there to spend on going to the gym, I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve gotten myself a new job in a similar area of work but with much more physical demands, I have been less depressed in this job and have been able to afford better foods. I have much more fruit than I used to and get exercise doing my job every day (typically hefting boxes of tech up and down stairs, or just running about fixing / prepping or in other ways setting things up).

Tarring every ‘fatty’ with the same ‘lazy bastard’ brush simply doesn’t work; yes some can be labeled as lazy because they are, others are doing the best they know how with what they have available.

Unless you’re willing to have an independent assessment of each individual’s situation and circumstances there is no easy way to charge a fat / obese person reliably for costs incurred.

The only other way would be to have everyone pay for what they use at the point of delivery. However, this would require the removal of the NHS system and the introduction of an American-style system, and unless you have had your head in the sand over the last few years, you know how that works.

There is no easy solution to be honest. Or rather; the easiest solution would be to have everyone pay at the point of delivery, those who have ‘contributed most to society’ by becoming rich enough to afford health insurance would be treated, and the chaff would be allowed to die and thereby decrease the surplus population.

This would be a much fairer system for those who can afford it; although I was under the impression that the human race was evolving into a species which would help each other.

If you see someone who is compelled to eat cake, try laying down the stick, and offer the carrot instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Er...

Where's the Daily Mail angle?

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Stop

Big guy with no pity...

Personally, all of the arguments above are excellent examples of why I am morally, philosophically, and politically opposed to socialized medicine.

I am a sports fanatic. I play rugby, American football, track&field (shot,Hammer), Scottish Games, and soccer(football). I am 6'1" and 20stone, and I have never been fat a day in my life.

I have injured myself while playing above sports... and I was very happy to go and get stitched together or splinted or whatnot and then pay the bill for said treatment.

Back on topic. When you accept the dole, and you accept the taxes that create the dole, you must accept the cost. Period. Personally, I would love for airlines to put some 'fatty' seats on the plane, as my arse fits quite well in a normal seat, but my shoulders are considerably wider... I would love to pay extra so that I didn't hang into the aisle. When I was in the US Marines I was glad that I was usually in a unit that had other larger than average men, so that if one of us took a round or suffered some other mishap we could be confident that someone could carrry our asses out of there.

You take taxes indiscriminately... therefore you are obligated to give indiscriminately, or are you just trying to cheat your fellow citizens?

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Anonymous Coward

well

become an hero!

Or buy better food - what you doing getting £50 of lard?

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Anonymous Coward

Obesity on 50 pounds per month.

23 stone requires 3552 calories per day (Basal metabolic rate)

Assume 31 days/month is 110112 cals/month

22 cals per pence, how the hell are you buying food so cheaply?

So, lets see what Tesco can do (I've skipped the salad section):-

Pork Farms Individual Pork Pie 86pence, 551 cals = 6.5cals per pence.

Tesco Large Melton Mowbray Pork Pie 440g 182pence,1518cals = 8.3 c/p

Tesco Value Lard 500g 31pende, 4500 cals = 145.1 c/p

Struggling a bit with the magic number there, but it's somewhere between pork pies and tesco value lard.

Ah wait! Cheese'll do it.

Tesco Medium Cheddar 1kg 538 pence, 4100 calories = 7.6 c/p

!?!?!?

So, even eating a diet entirely of discount cheese wouldn't maintain your bodyweight.

I'm going to have to call "Bullshit" on this one.

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Interesting diversion

All of the above was informative - and a little alarming.

When I consider all of the taxes levied on the British and all the ways in which that tax money is spent (Note to some: There is no such thing as "the government's money" or "the government paying for something". It's YOUR money and YOU'RE paying.), the reaction to an insignifcance such as this is laughable.

Listen, it doesn't matter. Yes, there are people who don't take responsibility for themselves (but not all obese people fall in this category). Yes, there are people whose views are hateful and intolerant (but not all who wrote here fall into that category). In the scale of the taxes paid in the UK, though, this doesn't even amount to a nanofart in a thunderstorm.

Pay attention to what does matter. Why is the NHS funded so much and yet delivering such a pathetic service? Why are politicos telling you to not drink, smoke, eat, drive your car or take foreign holidays when they gorge themselves on alchohol-fueled banquets, smoke as they please, ride around in limousines and fly all over the world?

A few obese people needing Pickfords to get them to hospital is less than significant. Oh, and by the way, what about charging the chronically angry for their blood-pressure meds and their stroke rehabilitation?

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tom

I can't quite work out how...

The phrase "carry your own weight", I think, makes my entire argument in support of the decision to charge.

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Pirate

Here lies Common Sense. It's rotting corpse for all to view.

A forklift?

If it requires a forklift to move someone out of bed then there is a massive problem to begin with.

I'd say give the individual a choice. Liposuction, diet/execise, death, or a hefty service fee for moving their ass out of what once was a wall.

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Hmm...

I don't think that it's the place of the fire service to do this - they have more important things to do, like putting out fires, freeing people from wrecked cars etc.

I do, in the same vane think that people with bad AIDS should be charged for the drugs they need - they shared the needle / didn't use a condom, they knew the risks, it's their fault.

Oh, hang on a sec, that doesn't sound very nice does it, maybe callously persecuting people for things that they don't have that much control over isn't that nice. And before you say you choose to eat and fat people have chosen to eat too much, that isn't always the case. You have to eat, it's about the most important thing you do, we are reaping the Thatcher years here, stop educating kids about cooking and what to eat and when they are adults they don't know what to eat. Couple that with a very strongly programmed desire to eat fats and you end up with fat people. Duh!

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Thumb Down

Hmmm....

Just to interrupt the hate-fest for a moment...

The fire guy says "It is not frequent but still a regular occurrence." Well, I suppose, once every six weeks does count as "regular", but it seems pretty insignificant to me.

Surely it can't possibly be worth the hassle of raising charges just to cover 8 incidents a year - especially if those charges are only going to be made on some other branch of the public sector. Hurrah!, x pounds has been shifted from this budget to that one! How many extra bureaucrats will need to be taken on to achieve this triumph in accountancy?

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Drugs

psychiatric drugs can cause weight gain to the point of being obese. I guess its their fault to right?? or would you rather them go off their meds ??

Medicine proscribed for folks who had strokes can cause weight gain. But hey thats there fault to.

Yep every one that is fat became fat by choice. No matter what the medical reason is. Gland problem , you chose to be fat. Insulin problem tough you choose to be fat. Even if you are only eating 2200 calories and still are fat its cause you chose to be fat.

Any body that makes blanket statements is a moron. Alot of people posting here have blind hate for fat people. they wont even acknowledge the fact there medical reasons for some people being fat

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Alert

obvious solution - at least from an Aussie POV

Firstly, i would like to point out that the bulk (groan) of morbidly obese people -requiring assistance to leave their homes - are unable to work, so it doesnt really matter who gets slugged with the bill, its all going back on the taxpayer.

Nevertheless, in Aussie-land where we are coerced into private health insurance by punitive tax penalties - the obese should have a specific insurance plan which includes heavy lifting/ambulance assistance. Given the rest of the medical complications associated with obesity, it is only reasonable to put them on a separate tier to the general public. In the same way men dont need to pay for plans which include maternity options (assisted or otherwise) - if there are costs specific to the condition the are subject to, then these should be factored into their premiums.

As a healthy, careful person I am opposed to compulsory health insurance - its gambling against yourself basically, with the insurance companys as the big winners, followed by the clumsy and unlucky.. but there are limited cases where it has some use.

I have no idea what system the poms use, except they never seem happy with it.

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Go

Airline Surcharge

Maybe Airlines could make things fair by forcing 2m tall blokes like me to endure long-haul flights sat next to slim-but-not-too-tall-yet-quite-attractive young ladies (preferably wearing lightweight clothing, to save fuel of course)?

But seriously, it's a natural urge to dislike paying taxes and then to see those taxes being spent not on something that will benefit you, but one something that could have been avoided if the person in question had better judgement or more self control. It's not just clinically obese people. Smokers Long-term unemployed, benefit cheats, vandals, extreme sports enthusiasts (who knowingly put themselves in danger knowing that our taxes have paid for a helicopter than can winch them off a mountain and into a hospital where they can receive treatment for free).

Thing is, once we start charging obese people (and yes, I know that this article states that the patients themselves will not have to pay, but there are strong arguments above for the alternative to be the case) for these services we set a precedent that will end up with us being charged extra for all sorts of things.

You live 10 miles from the hospital? Then the ambulance will charge you twice as much as the person who lives 5 miles away.

You have 6 kids instead of the average 2? Well the fire and rescue team will get the first two for free and will charge thereafter.

Ridiculous, but the underlying sentiment is similar.

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Tom
Silver badge

This is pretty easy if you ask me....

...A chainsaw works wonders to remove an exterior wall. Works quite fast as well. I leave the repairs as an exercise to the (fat) homeowner. Of course the rental of the forklift might be an added expense.

As to the sharing of the "HEALTHCARE" costs is another matter. Socialized medicine remove the personal initiative to be healthy. Maybe a tax on BMI (body mass index) is in order. Legislation of "good behavior" is a losing battle. It never works, and usually has unintended consequences (think prohibition in USA).

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Anonymous Coward

Fire Services and airlines

Around here (Pennsylvania, US) our fire departments usually operate the emergency response ambulances, so they don't have any right to complain. Also, I've NEVER known ANY firefighters to deny ANY excuse to take ANY of their tools to ANYTHING. And I know a lot of firefighters. The general rule of thumb is that if something more imminent happens, they throw the sawzalls back in the truck and go deal with that - and then come back to whatever recreational activity they've selected (whether it's gratuitous cutting up of cars, of making way for lardo to get out of the bedroom).

Also, when a NON fire department ambulance service responds to something (it happens occasionally) they'll often call for fire department assistance to do such things as lift a stretcher up and down stairs - which, granted, requires far less resource than sawzall-powered home improvement, but is still "excess strain".

Who cares? They're getting paid anyway, whether they're sitting on their asses watching TV, or putting out burning buildings, or cutting holes in walls. In fact, we have rather large contingents of VOLUNTEER firefighters, who DON'T get paid and do it just for the human compassion thing.

The tools firefighters use for fatty-extraction are the very same tools they use to extract people from cars. You can't claim additional wear and tear on the tools from their being used on wood and plaster.... That's all negligible compared to steel and aluminum. The costs of a fire department responding to a fatty-extraction call are negligibly higher when you compare them to their idle costs. The only real additional expense is in transport, if there are no "heavyweight" ambulances available. These things are wider and have heavier rear axles (and occasionally dual rear axles) than a regular ambulance, and are becoming fairly commonplace in the US. Usually this will be accomplished with a quick and dirty rental truck with a hydraulic lift gate - a whopping $70 expense, which is ALWAYS picked up by the ambulance company, and in turn billed along with the regular transport fees.

Also, these extractions serve to keep skills sharp - remember, firefighters will often have to tear into a part of a building for one reason or another. It's also worth noting that if something catches fire, or someone has a car accident, they're obligated to leave and come back later.

In summary, a fire department engaged in the extrication of a fat person from their home is spending virtually no more money than normal, are engaging in low-impact, and actually pretty fun training, and aren't letting houses burn down. There isn't a single negative to the whole thing. This is just some paperpusher's idea of a good way to bring in extra money to pay for $SHINY_NEW_PIECE_OF_KIT

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Silver badge

@kain preacher

What utter twaddle.

Anybody who is under supervised medication will not be allowed to get into a state of such obesity that they can't get out of the house.

And while I'm at it - "Any body that makes blanket statements is a moron." - I think that's a blanket statement. Think of a phrase with pot and kettle or hoist and petard.

To the fat anonymous coward, God only knows what you must be stuffing in your gob to maintain 23 stones but it's likely a change of diet will help. Seeing as you are on a budget it might be some consolation to know that it's actually cheaper to eat a healthy diet.

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Oz
Dead Vulture

Re: Obesity on 50 pounds per month

Your calorie assessment is wrong. According to my BMR calculator it's nearer 2850, which is far more reasonable, and practical to maintain on Tesco Value Cheese and Pork Pies.

Ironically, I arrived home from work yesterday to find a police car, ambulance and fire engine blocking my road. Yep, you've guessed it - they were extracting a rather large lady from her house via the downstairs bay window. By the gathering of onlookers outside the house, it was a sport the whole neighbourhood could enjoy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Airline Surcharge

While I agree entirely with the airline seating plan you suggest, I'd also suggest it would help balance the plane as well..

>You live 10 miles from the hospital? Then the ambulance will

>charge you twice as much as the person who lives 5 miles away.

But it doesn't cost twice as much?

If they did tehn perhaps both people and hospitals would be sited closer to each other substantially improvign the services. At the moment, hospitals can be so remote as to require transport to get anywhere near them.

>You have 6 kids instead of the average 2? Well the fire and rescue team

>will get the first two for free and will charge thereafter.

You should be paying a sodding surcharge for 6 kids anyway! Haven't they heard of contraception? Do you know why the planet is shagged out? It's people breeding as if they're third world subsistence farmers.

Families with massive numbers of children tend to be from religious groups that are attempting to breed their way into numerical supremacy. If that's what they want to do I fail to see why I should pick up the tab for it.

>A chainsaw works wonders to remove an exterior wall.

Maybe in the mid west US where houses are built out of cheese, but in lancashire most houses are brick and those that aren't are granite or blonde sandstone - you'd need one bitching chainsaw.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BMR calculator it's nearer 2850

That still makes 17 and a bit cals a penny, I think there's some kind of discount value pork pie multipack that fat people must live off.

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Rob
Stop

What planet did you say you lived on?

"...although I was under the impression that the human race was evolving into a species which would help each other."

What planet are you living on, we're a dispicable society of animals that refuses to learn from it's mistakes.

"for these services we set a precedent that will end up with us being charged extra for all sorts of things."

Again, what planet, we are being charged for all sorts of things with stealth taxes that our government desperately tries to introduce at any point possible to make up for the fact that it's screwed the finances of this country up and doesn't get enough tax money. Hands up anyone under 40 who thinks they'll get a state pension (you at the back with your hand up, your a moron, here's your coat, and no you can order your own taxi).

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Dead Vulture

RE:got enough tar

Why do fat people these days cry out like it's some kind of disability that they have no control over? You can only put weight on in relation to the amount of calories you consume. Fat doesn't magically appear.

What the hell have you been eating to weigh 23st age 25? Sounds like you did nothing in your support job but sit at your desk eating. As for living on £50 per month, why take a loan for a car that comes with the additional expense of insurance etc if you knew it would leave you with only that? Surely saving a few hundred quid for a second hand one would have been a better idea. You would still be able to get to work, never heard of a bus or train? Or are you simply unable to walk to the station or bus stop?

As for those having a go at smokers and drinkers, if you had read all the comments you will see that they pay a lot of money to do this, money that benefits everyone but most food is tax free. Yes some people have a medical condition causing them to put on weight but these are in the minority. The rest just like stuffing their faces and can't be bothered to exercise the weight off once they notice they are piling it on. You can't reach 23st without seeing yourself in the mirror and at some point thinking hmm I'm getting a bit podgy. Better still, why not change diet and stop eating all the burgers, crisps, cakes, chocolate etc. You don't have to cut them out completely, but a balanced diet makes it easier to control your weight.

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Your You're

People, please remember that "your" is for when something belongs to somebody:

Your mistakes;

"you're" is short for "you are"

You're mistaken.

"Their" is when something belongs to somebody too:

Their mistake;

"They're" is short for "they are":

They're mistaken.

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Unhappy

Sympathy for the Fat Devils

Thank the Lord I'm from Yorkshire. I once made a bad decision and went to Lancashire, believe me, if you lived there, you would be sad, depressed and fat.

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Paris Hilton

income for obese people

What jobs -and income- are available for clinically obese people, who have trouble leaving their homes, and invalidate a companies insurance whenever they are required to walk up a flight of stairs ?

So far as urban myth has it, they're the main source of voices for the "live phone sex" industry.. that might explain why it seems to be so much more prevalent these days..

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Flame

BMI is BullSh*t

"Use BMI. Anyone clinically obese pays more!"

My ridiculously lean brother came over from the UK a few weeks ago - commutes about 250 miles/week by cycle, has to take a special protein diet just to cope.

He was telling me about the BMI madness in the UK where doctors are rewarded/punished for the progress they make on improving BMI regardless of the actual lean-ness or fitness of the person involved.

See, he's relatively short and after being weighed and measured by the nurse, walks into the doctor's office. Doctor with head-down looking at the charts starts by saying "we're going to have to do something about your diet and exercise to get your weight down"... looks up... does double-take... looks down..looks up again... "ahem, forget about that".

BMI is based on a set of figures that take no account of ethnicity or muscularity and make assumptions about everyone being sedentary. Some pages warn about this but the stupid NHS regulations apparently have no leeway for doctors to apply judgement.

He also told me of a very small-framed friend of his who has a Chinese husband who is also of slight build and had a mandatory visit from a nurse because their 6 month-old baby was "undersized".

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Bronze badge

The problem's really quite simple

Some people are just lazy and lacking in self control.

I mean how difficult is it to actually inform yourself about a subject before speaking (hint:Google) or failing that control the impulse to indulge in ignorant hate-filled diatribes.

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What type of society do we want?

A lot of people writing in seem to want to live in a "USA"-style society -- you know, one where you fall seriously ill, it isn't covered by insurance, and you end up with a bill for $200,000. But hey, the taxes are lower.

If you want such a society, stop whining about issues like this and move to the USA,

If you want a society which at least tries to look after everyone regardless of how much tax they pay or what their need for such support is, stop complaining when somebody else takes out more than they put in, regardless of what the reason is.

Someday it could be you needing brain surgery for cancer because you spent too long talking on your mobile...

Ian

P,S. Irony warning -- I don't believe mobiles cause brain cancer.

P.P.S. Of course they might do, it's difficult to prove a negative.

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Who's doing the rescue?

In most parts of the country they are called the "Fire and Rescue Service", so I would think that this sort of 'rescue' is exactly within their normal operating procedures. So we already pay them to do it.

As the majority of really large people do not have jobs - as they can't get to them, or people won't employ them as a health and safety risk - they are on the dole. So we are paying for them to get even bigger, to sit in front of a satelite TV that we probably paid for and to ring for pizza/Indian/Chinese delivery.

And to answer an earlier point about the distribution of weight on the aircraft, this has been done before, although on Concord it was the baggage that was allocated positions to aid the aircraft trim.

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Unhappy

Obesity is no longer the problem.

I recently watched a program in morbid fascination as the medical profession had to review their definitions of disorders and had to create a new term

"Super Obese".

So now we have a situation in society in which chubby, fat, obese or even lard arse does not capture the whole you. No, now we have had to create a whole new term to capture and describe the level of laziness they have attained. Where there are special centres to deal with this "epidemic" Where special reenforced widened wheelcahirs need to be made for you so you can be pushed around, because you have difficulty walking. Where your daily exercise routine oonsists of walking about 150 emtres. Where after fnally losing all that weight , plastic surgeons will cut off 20Kgs of flabby skin - from each leg

How in the hell can someone possibly look in the mirror and not notice they have put on a couple hundred pounds and not do anything about it !!!

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Thumb Up

I totally agree.

I think they should be billed for more than there weight I feel they should be billed for each pound the weigh, for each pound they SHOULD way and finally for each pound they are OVER there ideal weight! Then times it by 2 because this is how long it took me to write this. Oh yeah not to forget VAT so that the FAT cats of the government "u like the way I done that" The pill should be invoiced to the individual. This may be a deterrent for other fat people not to become fatter. Unfortunately this is the only way. Fight the Urge!

http://www.mcdonalds.com

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