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Psychiatric patients paid to take medication

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:00 05 October 2010

MENTALLY ill patients are being bribed to encourage them to take their medication as part of a trial led by East End experts. A team at Queen Mary University in Mile End are leading a 12-month study in which patients with bipolar disorder or schizophreni

MENTALLY ill patients are being bribed to encourage them to take their medication as part of a trial led by East End experts.

A team at Queen Mary University in Mile End are leading a 12-month study in which patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia will be paid £15 for every jab of anti-psychotic drug, earning them a possible £720 in a year.

The trial includes 136 patients who all have a very poor track record for taking their medication and will continue to receive their usual care, as half of the patients are offered the cash incentive.

The Mental health charity Mind, say the money could "unduly influence" patients' decision of whether the treatment is good for them or not.

But Professor Stefan Priebe who is leading the study told the BBC: "We had to seek ethical approval and interviewed 25 focus groups of stake holders. We decided on the £15 sum because it is a relatively small amount of money. It is an incentive."

He has capped the number of "paid" injections at four per month.

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