Listened yesterday to the Jeremy Vine show on the way back from court (tenuous link with family law). Not my favourite radio show, but yesterday dealt with the novel idea of paying bipolar and schizophrenic patients to receive their medication by way of regular shots. It received a largely ‘disgusted of Chingford’ response as one might expect from the listeners of daytime radio. But actually what struck me was my own instinctive discomfort at the notion of coercing someone into taking medication that may significantly affect their functioning by financial means. Many – most – patients with enduring mental health problems of this kind are financially vulnerable, and a reluctance to take the medication which can render them dopy and affect their memory and intellectual functions, is to some extent a feature of conditions of this kind. For some the cure is worse than the disease – and a period when well and unmedicated is worth (at the time at least) the inevitable mania or relapse which will follow at some stage. Whilst it is easy for an outsider to say that it’s ‘better’ for someone to be compliant with medication for the sake of reducing risk, it must be very difficult to accept medication which has a tendency to turn you into a zombie (albeit a safe zombie) when apparently well. To persuade yourself that you will recognise the signs of relapse and take the risk in pursuit of ‘normal’ or socially acceptable functioning is understandable. I’m not saying the pilot scheme discussed on the show is wrong, but I do think it would need stringent safeguards in place in order to be morally appropriate.

Equally unpalatable is the report in the Times earlier this week that members of the public will be paid to monitor a network of CCTV cameras over the internet to spot crime. Nosy neighbours from hell…

It’s all about money ain’t it? SIGHS.

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