Thursday, January 04, 2007

Paid to Take Meds?

From the Belfast Telegraph:

Mentally ill patients are being paid by the NHS to take their drugs in a radical experiment to improve compliance.

Four patients suffering from schizophrenia are receiving between £5 and £15 each time they have a "depot" injection - a long acting drug which is normally given once a month.

The payments handed out by the Newham Centre for Mental Health in east London have dramatically improved the patients' adherence to treatment and reduced the time they spend in hospital suffering relapses, and problems with neighbours and the police.


The four patients in the study were cared for by an assertive outreach team and had a history of stopping their medication and getting into trouble. That changed when they were paid, with three of the four needing no hospital admissions, compared with between 80 and 362 days in the previous two years.

However, a survey of 150 team managers of assertive outreach teams revealed widespread distaste for the approach. Three-quarters said they objected to payments on ethical grounds - some objected because of the impact on NHS budgets.

It beats forced medication but still seems a bit on the odd side.

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