Monday, 10 October 2011

The Health Lottery - It's Not A Joke, Is It?

I must admit that I must be living in a bubble. I had heard nothing if this new 'Health Lottery' and so it's launch has taken me by surprise. On the M25 today I saw a picture that was reminiscent of the 'Banana Splits' advertising it and I thought for a second that Camelot had found a new way to screw money out of us.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that this latest possible 'scam' is run by none other than Richard Desmond, celebrated proprietor of several tabloids and owner of Channel 5. Perhaps playing on our general scepticism of the NHS, it seems that money from the lottery will go towards Health Charities at a rate of around £50m a year.

However, the devil is in the detail. Just 20.34p of every £1 spent on a Health Lottery ticket will go toward any charities which is just above the legal threshold that constitutes it being called a 'Society Lottery'. The National Lottery is not a 'Society Lottery' but 28p of every pound goes to good causes while a further 12p goes to Lottery Duty. Many worry about the profits made by Camelot and their IT and Distribution partners but the the Health Lottery is pretty unashamedly a way to gain money for its operators and owners.

The play on our senses - we are aware of the 'Postcode Lottery' for health care - seems to be the modus operandi. I don't think that the money raised from this Lottery will make the difference the proprietor purports it will. It won't get better care for the elderly or save lives at A&E or ensure proper drugs are available to sufferers in every Health Authority. But Richard Desmond relies on people thinking it will.

Personally, I think this is a classic case of exploitation. Readers of his papers will love it. Desmond will get richer. Those in need of proper healthcare will be no better off.

1 comment:

Near said...

I read that the news Health Lottery have spent £20m on promoting the new lottery, but also that it will generate over £50m per year. Surely this is better than nothing happening at all? The National Lotterty donated to 000's of lotteries, but these are not specified, the Health Lottery does clearly indicate where the money goes. I'm going to give it a go online this saturday online.