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Gold, incentives and meh

Get involved in substance misuse care

From Dr David Lansley


I don't know what the provision of services for methadone maintenance prescribing is like in Sunderland, where Phil Peverley works. Probably poor if the picture he portrays is accurate, with 'another addict' on a Friday afternoon trying it on in desperation (Columnists, 22 June).

There are two points I'd like to emphasise. First, this is a time when more than ever primary care needs young GP recruits to become involved in substance misuse care. If anyone interested in a motive for looking after this group of patients needs inspiration, here it is: research suggests six out of seven heroin deaths are preventable by maintenance prescribing of methadone.

Second, I wish some GPs would stop pretending they are under pressure to prescribe for these people and give up doing so. They do it badly and erratically without getting the proper RCGP training, which is freely available in most PCTs.

In areas where a GPSI service is up and running, addicts turning up hassling GP practices for medication is just not the issue any more. I am proud to cite north-east Lincolnshire as an example.

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