MPs prescribed Viagra by doctor in the House

A LABOUR MP who is also a GP has been bombarded, discreetly of course, with requests from colleagues wanting to get their hands on the anti-impotence drug, Viagra.

Howard Stoate, who is the MP for Dartford and still a practising family doctor, has privately prescribed the diamond-shaped blue pills for at least two of his colleagues after they approached him for help. Dr Stoate prescribed Viagra privately "a couple of times" to the MPs because, as he is not their family doctor, he is prevented from prescribing it on the NHS.

"They were not Saturday night funsters. They were people who would seriously qualify for Viagra. They are not people saying `I can only manage it twice a night, doc - can you give me something to manage it four times a night'," he said.

"The difficulty is there is no really coherent medical system for MPs available in the House if they are 200 miles away from home. You can go to Boots and see what they can do for you, or you can sit in casualty in St Thomas' Hospital, or you can find a local GP and sign on as a temporary resident, but they would be reluctant to talk about that to a GP who they have never met before. There is a real gap in the Commons."

He refuses to divulge the names of the MPs to whom he prescribed the drug, saying he must protect confidentiality, but that will not stop a backbench whispering campaign to identify the Viagra users in the Parliamentary Labour Party. In an interview for The House magazine Dr Stoate said he had only been approached by people in his own party.

Dr Stoate is talking to the Commons administration committee about allowing him the right to prescribe on the NHS at the House. There is a Commons nurse, but she cannot prescribe and most MPs would almost certainly be too embarrassed to ask her for Viagra.

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