People suffering accidents through healthy activity could be forced into paying an activity tax under new Tory proposals, claims a Labour Assembly Member.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said: "Conservative AM Darren Millar said on a radio phone-in show that individuals putting themselves at high risk through their own choice could be charged by the NHS.
"After being asked whether people who go skiing should be charged by the NHS if they have an accident, the Conservative Health Spokesperson said: 'I think if people put themselves in areas of high risk through their own choice then there ought to be a discussion about whether it’s appropriate for the NHS to pick up the bill for the risks that they take.'”
Mr Skates added: "The Tories' approach would throw up several serious challenges. Whilst we must encourage patients to be responsible in their use of the NHS, the Tories are going further and suggesting there should be an activity tax on perfectly healthy behaviour.
“Where do we draw the line? As a keen runner myself, if I injure my knee doing perfectly healthy exercise, should I be taxed for that good behaviour?
“Should the average Sunday league footballer be charged if he gets injured in a tackle?
“The founding principle of the NHS is that it should be free at the point of access and we should keep it this way.
"From Labour's perspective, this could be the start of a very slippery slope towards introducing a private insurance model of healthcare. Whilst the Tories might want that, it would be very costly for communities in Wales with a legacy of ill-health.
“This is the Welsh Conservatives again making up policy on the hoof. We need to tackle inappropriate use of NHS resources, but half-baked proposals like these made up on a radio phone-in show are clearly not the answer.”