Monday, 23 July 2007

Not very NICE

Usually, when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the body charged with rationing out NHS funding, appears in the news, it is when it has refused treatment for people who suffer from diseases such as cancer, or Alzheimer's, on the grounds that the treatment is not cost-effective. Now, however, I read that NICE is recommending that the NHS adopts a system for the treatment of drug addicts, whereby they will be rewarded with iPods, DVDs, and televisions, should they succeed in staying off drugs.

This is idiotic in so many different ways. For a start, if drug addicts are capable of being motivated to give up drugs by means of inducements, then isn't the possibility of turning their lives around, and away from utter worthlessness, inducement enough? That's actually rather a big point: most addicts don't like being addicts, but they are. Being addicted to drugs means that they do not exercise a fully rational choice when it comes to drugs. They know that their lives would be better without them, and yet they still take them. Will it really make a big difference if they know that their lives will be better without them, and that they will have an iPod?
The second point is that made by Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association:
Why should these people with self-inflicted problems be given priority over people who have a genuine illness? Some people with genuine disease are being forced to sell their homes for the medicines they need.
Exactly. This is public money being spent here, and frankly, I would far rather see the finite resources of the NHS being spent, so far as is possible, on the more deserving cases, such as cancer patients, rather than on people who have, like it or not, brought their problems on themselves.

I would also remind readers of the story that I wrote about in April, that misbehaving schoolchildren were being given rewards such as mountain bikes and iPods if they turned their behaviour around. Personally, I deplore the apparently increasing moves towards paying Danegeld to those who disrupt society, in the hope of making them better behaved. It is the mark of a pathetic and weak society, and will come to no good in the long run.

Hat-tip: David Vance at ATW

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile smokers may not get NHS treatment unless they kick the habit.

Unlike druggies smokers work, pay tax + tax on cigs & don't rob or mug folk to feed their habit.