Monday, February 19, 2007

The truth about heroin on the NHS

A piece I've been working on for about six months made it on to the World At One today - it's about the long-running shortage of diamorphine in this country. You can read about it here

And if you want to listen to it click on the link to "interviews with those affected by the shortage" at the side

This drug is used to treat cancer sufferers, heart attack victims and women in labour. But diamorphine's also the clinical equivalent of heroin and so it has come back into the news because of Ken Jones (president of ACPO)'s calls for drug addicts to be prescribed it on the NHS. He's not the first cop to suggest this - the interesting thing is that no one seems aware there has been such a shortage. It took a long hard search and requests under the Freedom of Information Act to find out the figures - and then an equally long hard search to find the figures that show the price of the drug has risen by a third over the past two years. So while the Department of Health can say quite rightly spending is nearly back up to the previous levels....that isn't the same as saying there's the same amount being prescribed.

Thanks to those involved in the investigation who kept on being patient the long time it took to bring it together....There were times when I never thought it would end!

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