Crippen looks at the 'cash for drugs' treatment plan / 11 October 2009
A team of doctors at Queen Mary, University of London, hopes to encourage "difficult" patients to comply with treatment by paying them for every jab of anti-psychotic drugs that they have.
‘Experts’ believe a third of patients given the label of bipolar or schizophrenia fail to comply with their prescribed medication regime causing relapses and a higher cost to the NHS. They claim that missing as few as one to 10 days of oral anti-psychotic therapy nearly doubles the risk of a patient being admitted to hospital.
To avoid this, doctors often prescribe depot treatments - injectible versions of the pills - but this is not fail-safe and patients may simply not turn up for their jabs. Reminder phone calls and texts are also ignored. When all other attempts to achieve adherence have failed, bribery may be an option, according to Professor Stefan Priebe, who led the Queen Mary team.
He expects that not only will patients be happy to trade an injection for cash, but that the "money for medication" scheme should pay for itself, with the financial costs more than off-set by the savings made in reduced hospital admissions.
But mental health charity Mind said people should be taking medication for the health benefits not for the money. A spokesperson for the charity, Alison Cobb said: "Psychiatric drugs are known to have unpleasant side-effects, and people should take medication because the health benefits outweigh the drawbacks, not because they need the money."
Why do I get the feeling that this is all about money and has nothing to do with the welfare of patients?!
By the way, you can read more about this subject on the blog of the Crimson Crip
Keywords: medication,mental health,psychosis,