The point I'm making is, and it was the comment about expecting free rescue regardless of how much your own decisions contributed to your own situation which I was originally referring to which generated this fork.
If you go out in flip flops and a t-shirt in November to Brecon and then find yourself in need of rescue to stave off exposure, my understanding of the original comment was, you shouldn't expect someone to come and rescue you for free.
My point and I've said this pretty plainly twice now is, by what mechanism do you judge how much someone has contributed to their own misfortune?
If you head out with a map, well heeled and well supplied but then go on to make stunningly poor decision and now are in need of rescue how do you decide that person A is more or less responsible for their predicament than person B?
The secondary point about the NHS charges legislation is *it doesn't deal with that issue*. It simply says the NHS has the legal basis to recoup costs resulting from a road traffic accident *where* someone has needed treatment and that a compensation payment has been made. Hence why that piece of legislation is irrelevant.
I'm not being obtuse, how do you judge someone's emergency as being their own fault or not because they were stupid? That piece of legislation certainly doesn't.
Or to use the other posters approach to the discussion.
Just a geeky point - That Bill (which became the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999 was repealed in 2003 and replaced by the provisions of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 (amended 2006).
It still allows NHS to claim charges from insurers where compensation has been paid for injuries that have required NHS treatment.
Perhaps I’m being naive, but surely the answer to this is obvious. The emergency services should always bill someone rescued from the hill, and their insurance company administrators can decide whether their actions/equipment/decisions were reasonable.
Personally, I’m not really in favour of it, but I think this would be the only way of making the poorly prepared pay for their rescues.
The RNLI NEVER charge a fee for rescues (despite the fact that we could, under maritime law, claim salvage for taking a vessel under tow for example) which would go towards covering our costs, for one very simple reason - It puts people off calling for help, until the situation has got even worse, which not only makes the shout more difficult (and time critical) but potentially puts their lives and the lives of the SAR crew at risk.
This applies however stupid someone has been. I am inclined to agree that it is a difficult call to decide the difference in scale of stupidity between someone not checking the tides and getting cut off and an experienced yachtsman not carrying out the checks on the sea-cock on their boat before setting out and subsequently sinking. Both are stupid, but the tourist getting cut off in shorts and T-shirt may not be as well equipped or knowledgeable as the Yachtsman, but the result may well be the same.
In the context of this thread that is the difference between the well equipped, experienced hill-walker who left their compass in the car and the flip flop wearing snowflake who is just taking a quick jaunt to the top.
I'm not sure who would make the decision that one should be billed or not, and billing everyone just makes our lives more difficult.
In recent months our station and neighbouring stations have had shouts to boats in trouble who have assumed that we would bill them and have delayed calling for help as a result. We would much rather get a call early and do an easy tow than respond to a boat that is up to it's gunwales in water!
Speaking of gross stupidity, or even perhaps a suicide pact, take this couple of experienced hikers who died of exposure whilst walking in Wales. Autopsy found Methamphetamine and Cocaine in their bloods.
Aged 49 and 47, with him a farmer it seems an unusual age to be indulging in class A recreational narcotics - especially as outdoors types tend to be cleaner-living.
Strange drugs to take if you're trying to kill yourself too. I would have thought something morphine based would have been more appropriate.
Both cocaine and meth raise the body temperature and heart rate apparently, making hypERthermia (elevated body temp) more likely. This is distinct from hypOthermia, where the body loses heat faster that it can produce it.
Perhaps I could have been clearer, but I am not arguing for charging people or forcing them to have insurance. I happen to agree with you as I thought I had made clear with my last sentence.
What I was trying to convey is that if it is decided that the poorly prepared or poor decision makers must pay, then the only sensible way to decide who should pay is to hand it over to an insurance based scheme. The alternative idea of having a panel of arbitrators is a non-starter.
Or, of course, we could just leave things the way they are.