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Chief Nurse: stop over-medication of disabled patients

Chief Nurse: stop over-medication of disabled patients

The ongoing fight to raise awareness about the over-medication of people with learning disabilities has been praised by England's chief nursing officer.

The campaign to stop the over-medication of people with a learning disability or autism (STOMP) is a major initiative by NHS England aimed at curbing the amount of powerful drugs being prescribed inappropriately.

The first anniversary of the campaign was highlighted by the chief nursing officer for England, Professor Jane Cummings, who said the issue can lead to ‘many physical health problems, and even premature death’.

NHS England estimated that up to 35,000 with a learning disability but who have not been diagnosed with a mental health condition take a prescribed psychotropic every day. This can lead to significant side effects and a negative impact on their quality of life, it said.

Professor Cummings said that people with learning disabilities, autism, or both ‘should expect the same quality of care, the same good health and the same opportunities as everyone else – and, above all, the same quality of life.

‘That’s why NHS England is leading this campaign to stop the over-medication of people with a learning disability or autism (STOMP).’

STOMP is part of NHS England’s three-year national plan to transform care and reduce health inequalities for people with a learning disability, autism or both, and is supported by the royal colleges and organisations from social care – who have pledged to involve their members in supporting the campaign throughout the country.

Over 100 social care organisations have signed up so far, supporting over 40,000 people. Also a UK-wide learning package has been designed for the 65,000 membership of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Dr Ashok Roy said: ‘The Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Learning Disability Professional Senate are determined to make STOMP happen.

‘We will work in our learning disability teams and with general practice colleagues to reduce the harm caused by inappropriate use of psychotropic medication. We will promote comprehensive monitoring of medication, and the timely use of evidence based psychosocial interventions.’