Random Musing

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Waspsnest’s Contributors

The Wasp
Mr Raccoon

Medicating the children – no wonder the NHS is so expensive.

An amazing article over at The Telegraph (emphasis mine) :

Children given ‘chemical cosh’ drugs for shyness

Children are being prescribed mind-altering “chemical cosh” drugs for conditions such as shyness and mild social anxiety, behaviour experts have warned.

Young people are routinely being given medication to treat normal childhood conditions, it was claimed, despite fears over their long-term health.

The disclosure came as it emerged that the number of eight- to 13-year-olds on drugs such as Ritalin has soared seven-fold since 1997.

According to latest figures from the NHS, some 650,000 children aged eight to 13 are now on drugs such as Ritalin, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It represents a seven-fold increase on the 92,700 pupils put on drugs in 1997 and it compared with just 9,000 children given prescriptions in 1990.

That is a staggering number of kids being fed drugs by our state healthcare provider.

According to the ONS there are 4.23 million people in the 8 to 13 age range (source available here – file 24-06-2010) meaning that 15% or one in six children are being medicated by the state for a “condition” which would have received a clip round the ear 30 years ago.

Aside from the rights and wrongs of mass medication of the population, the cost alone is likely to be huge.

The nearest estimates I can find come from a BBC article written in 2000 when the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) approved Ritalin treatment on the NHS (which possibly explains the explosion in prescriptions mentioned in the Telegraph article above).

From the BBC article we have this :

Ritalin costs around £200 a year for a child on an average daily dose of 30mg, but the bill rises to up to £1,000 when assessment and follow-up costs are taken into account.

Without any adjustments for price changes in the 10 years since that article, it would suggest a cost to the NHS of between £130 and £650 million pounds per year (650000 kids multiplied by either £200 or £1000 from the article).

Taking the £650 million cost of full treatment and assessment but without inflation, this represents 0.6% of the entire 2010 NHS budget (currently £104 billion) spent solely on medicating kids.

Aside from the morals of mass medication for conditions that did not even exist 30 years ago, the cost alone is staggering.

Add to that all the treatments that should absolutely not be paid for by the NHS such as IVF treatment, stomach stapling, gender reassignment and even boob jobs and you start to realise why we have to pay so much in taxes just to fund this monstrous leech that the NHS has become.

Unfortunately, when you read crap like the following comment, there isn’t much hope, either for this country or for taxes ever going down again (emphasis mine) :

Should IVF be available on the NHS? | This Morning –

I have a friend, she’s only young and she can not have children. It’s heart breaking as she would be a great mum. Her husband has a child from a previous relationship, I believe he was only in his teens when he was born. Unfortunately they can not get funding on the NHS for IVF because he has a child. They are currently trying their best to get the thousands together to be able to go private for IVF.

I really think she should be given a chance on the NHS after all it’s not her fault she is infertile. I don’t think anyone can understand her grief and pain at the thought of not having children, unless you have experienced it or witnessed it.

Why the hell should I be paying for other people wanting to breed is really beyond me, whether its “their fault” or not!

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