Letter from Jim Dobbin, MP to The Rt. Hon Anne Milton MP (6 July 2010)

House of Commons Portcullis

H O U S E   OF   C O M M O N S

APPGITA – All Party Parliamentary Group for
Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

July 6, 2010

Rt. Hon Anne Milton MP
Minister of State
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1A 2NS

Dear Anne,

I am writing to you with regard to the charitable organisation CITA, the Council for Information on Tranquillisers and Antidepressants. CITA was founded in 1987 and has since provided a range of services including prescribed medication withdrawal services for PCTs, training courses for doctors and a national tranquilliser helpline. CITA are highly experienced in this field and have successfully helped thousands of patients withdraw from addiction to prescribed medications.

All parts of the NHS regularly refer patients to CITA. CITA is experiencing financial difficulties and is in the process of losing its office premises. At the same time the volume of enquiries has increased. The helpline is now manned by volunteers only who have to work from home. I wrote to your predecessor Gillian Merron MP on March 18 2010 asking the Department of Health to make interim funding available for CITA. Gillian Merron advised CITA to apply for funding through the Section 64 Funding Scheme, unfortunately CITA were refused and no funding was available.

The Department of Health’s review of policy on addiction to prescribed medication has already been in progress for 12 months. The report itself is now scheduled for the end of 2010 with policy discussions to take place into 2011. I already made it clear in correspondence with Gillian Merron that I believe time and money is being spent on library work whilst organisations working on the problem with experience and expertise are starved of funding.

I would like to ask again for funding to be made available for CITA. The APPGITA’s suggestion is that CITA and other groups in this field could be funded as pilot projects. This would enable the Department of Health to gather information and statistics first hand and at the same time the valuable withdrawal work being done could continue. I would also like to thank you for the personal interest and attention you have given to this problem.

Yours sincerely

Jim Dobbin MP

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