Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Hidden Costs of Charity Parachuting

Buried away in a tiny Telegraph column this week was a reference to one of the best academic studies to emerge in a long time. Doctors in a Scottish hospital have looked at the hidden costs of charitable parachuting, to the health service in particular, and published the results in the journal Injury (the link is to the abstract unless you or your institution subscribe). They found that the injury rate was 11% and the serious injury rate 7%. Minor injuries cost the National Health Service £3751 on average and serious injuries £5781.

As the average parachutist raised all of £30 (this is just a day out after all) each pound raised for charity cost the NHS £13.75. Every one of the charitable types who feels terribly virtuous raising money for charity in this way is actually preventing the health service treating the sick.


alicevans said...

how horrendous. I recall when someone asked me to pay for them going skydiving and i flatly refused. sounds like a free feel-good holiday to me, thinly veiled by a guise of concern for humanity.

well, bollocks to that, yeh, these people are arseholes.

i've never been a big fan of charity fundraisers anyway, far too self-indulgent for my liking.

i'd much rather that the audience empathised (i.e. were shown a video of some people, who by mere chance, happened to have different life-trajectories from themselves); were shown how they could help (i.e. by contributing cash to a particular plan/ writing to their local MPs etc); and wanted to act out of a concern for fellow persons.

However, people are generally very short-sighted and self-interested. So, it often seems that the best way of raising money is have some fancy charity party - which allows the rich kids to have a good time and feel good about it. Well, i've got nothing against people feeling good about themselves but i'd much rather they didn't need these added incentives.

In, short, yeh, that comment makes me irritated and i wish people were more considerate of others.

Usman Ahmed said...

Matt! You've been mentioned at Mr. Eugenides (My absolute favourite political blog a the moment) in an highly favourable light.

Love the new design too.