Today NHS England pledged urgent action on over-medication of people with a learning disability. You can read their announcment here.
Dan Scorer, our Head of Policy and Viv Cooper, Chief Executive at the Challenging Behaviour Foundation have responded to the news:
"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.”