Less medication, fewer prescriptions

We saw in Chapter 3 that a rational and humane approach to mental health and well-being should involve a much more cautions, more pragmatic, more expert but more restrained, limited and short-term use of psychotropic medication. This, unequivocally, would involve a net reduction in the use of these very expensive drugs. So, what impact could this have on budgets?

As we also saw in Chapter 3, we spend around ?800 million per year in the UK on prescriptions for psychotropic, psychiatric drugs. So a 25% shift in prescribing practices might yield ?200m in net savings. Of course, all reduction in prescriptions would yield proportionate savings in costs. Given the ineffectiveness of medical treatments for social problems, it seems reasonably safe to conclude that (unlike investment in other forms of services) these savings will not lead to extra expenses elsewhere. I should be clear: in an ideal world I would like to see a very significant reduction in the use of such medication. In a realistic, but attractive, world, that could easily be reflected in a 50% saving - or ?400 million per year.

In other words, our proposals would save money - would liberate resources for greater investment in mental health and well-being.

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