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MPs highlight abuse of people with dementia

An influential group of MPs is calling on the government to stop the dangerous overprescribing of antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia.

Up to 105,000 people with dementia are given the drugs inappropriately, according to expert predictions in the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dementia report "A Last Resort".

Antipsychotics continue to be a first resort for dealing with challenging behaviour in people with dementia, such as aggression or agitation, despite causing devastating side-effects, doubling risk of death and costing the UK over £60m a year.

Jeremy Wright, Chairman of the APPG on Dementia, says:
"The Government must end this needless abuse and make the five-point plan a key element of the National Dementia Strategy. Best practice guidelines are not enough - safeguards must be put in place to ensure antipsychotics are always a last resort. We need to include families in decisions, give people with dementia regular reviews and equip care staff with specialist training."

The five-point plan recommended in the report includes:

  1. Specialist dementia training for all care staff.
  2. Families must be involved in all decisions around antipsychotics.
  3. More proactive support for care home staff from GPs, community psychiatric nurses and psychiatrists.
  4. Compulsory medical reviews of people with dementia every 12 weeks
  5. A cost effectiveness review by NICE and a national audit by the Care Quality Commission.