Written by Roy Turse
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Topics: Health Care, NHS, Lottery

Monday, 28 February 2011

image for Richard Desmond Announces Health Lottery: "Survival rates are down to luck and where you live"

Media tycoon Richard Desmond has unveiled a new lottery game which aims to raise awareness of the disparity of healthcare across the UK.

Everyone will pay into the lottery from their normal tax contributions, and the fund will be used to pay for all healthcare provision. However, he says the allocation of funding will vary from area to area and some people will have to pay extra for the same services.

"The fun element of this lottery is that it will be very difficult for people to predict where and how to get the best healthcare," he said, "If you live in London you could uproot your family and move to Scotland to take advantage of free prescriptions and hospital parking, only to find that the waiting list for essential heart surgery is much longer."

Details of the lottery are yet to be worked out but Health Lottery chief executive Martin Hall said there would be "life-changing" cuts across the NHS in the months to come, with thousands of winners and losers every week.

"All the winners will automatically be entered into the next draw," he said, "while the losers will usually be buried or cremated."

Mr Desmond, the chairman of Northern and Shell and owner of the Daily Express, Channel 5 and OK! magazine, said the decision to get involved was a "no-brainer".

"However," he warned, "If this initiative is unsuccessful, we may have to trick people into contributing even more for their healthcare. Perhaps if there was the chance to win cash prizes, the public could be persuaded to give more money rather than the government having to demand more tax."

"In fact, that's a great idea," he concluded. "If we run it as a commercial concern people won't even realize they're paying for government healthcare cuts at all."

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