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Reports show over-medication of people with learning disability

 

Reports published today by NHS Improving Quality and Public Health England have exposed the inappropriate use of medication for people with learning disabilities.

 

 

Read Public Health England's report "Prescribing of psychotropic drugs to people with learning disabilities and/or autism by general practitioners in England"

 

Read NHS Improving Quality's report "Winterbourne Medicines Programme: Improving the use of medicines in people with learning disabilities"

 

Public Health England's report estimates that up to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are being prescribed an antipsychotic, an antidepressant or both without appropriate clinical justification. It has also been found that medication is being prescribed for long periods of time without review.

The NHS have promised "rapid and sustained action" to tackle these issues. In a letter to professionals and patients, NHS England have stressed the importance of reviewing prescriptions. They have pledged to head a 'call to action' to tackle the problems raised in the reports.

A further report by the Care Quality Commission is going to follow later in the year.

 

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, and Viv Cooper, chief executive of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said:

"The research findings issued today by the NHS shine a light on the shocking scale of the inappropriate use of medication. It is simply outrageous that up to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are being prescribed an antipsychotic, an antidepressant or both without appropriate clinical justification. This confirms what we have heard from families time and time again about their loved ones being given high levels of antidepressant or antipsychotic medication, often for years. In many cases families report serious side effects and no evidence that the medication is helping the individual. They describe watching their relative becoming unrecognisable, e.g. extreme drowsiness.

"The research published today shows this is happening not just in inpatient units like Winterbourne View but in the community as well.

"Fundamental changes must now be delivered, addressing a widespread culture of “chemical restraint”, and replacing it with individualised behaviour support. We welcome the focus that has been announced today to ensure that action is taken to address the issues raised in this report.”

 

 

14/07/2015

 

 

 

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