Letter: NHS rationing

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Reports that 45 per cent of GPs will not, for reasons of cost, prescribe the new anti-psychotic drugs for sufferers of schizophrenia came as no surprise to me.

As the mother of one of those schizophrenic would-be-suicides (schizophrenia affects one in 100 of the population, and one in 10 of those will attempt suicide) I can only thank my lucky stars that I happen to live somewhere with an enlightened GP who is happy to prescribe one of these new neuroleptics for my son.

But my son's health - and life - should not have to depend on lucky stars and the right location. Should it be a question of luck that, a year since he started the new medication, instead of a boy who is lost, tormented, in and out of psychiatric wards and on the brink of suicide, we have a young man who is working hard for A-levels, applying to university and growing daily in self- confidence?

He is returning from the shadows and becoming a contributing, valuable member of society. This alone should be enough to justify the expense of medication to the NHS. But if more justification is needed, we should weigh up the cost of medication against the cost of frequent hospital admissions, of community care, even maybe of prison terms.

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