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A waste of time

8 June 2010

Christopher Dearlove, a 41 year old homeless man, was recently issued with a three year criminal anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) for costing the NHS tens of thousands of pounds in wasted care. This action by the NHS CFSMS shows that Trusts acting together gives the NHS a powerful weapon to fight back.

Whilst it sends out a strong message to the wider public enforcing the ASBO could be problematic. The court will be reluctant to punish Mr Dearlove if he presents again but it is borderline as to whether he is genuinely ill.

Whilst the evidential burden to obtain an ASBO is quite low, gathering sufficient evidence for a case like this will also have been very time consuming and it no doubt took many years before anyone realised the problems.

The only failsafe way to spot this sort of problem early on would be through a national identity card system combined with an electronic patient record – so for the foreseeable future old-fashioned vigilance and common sense will have to be the watchwords for the NHS.

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