in antipsychotic prescriptions for community patients
by Mike George
Around 70 per cent more outpatient prescriptions of antipsychotic
medication are being prescribed compared to 10 years ago.
figures were revealed in a report on community mental healthcare
by Professor Louis Appleby, the government’s national director
for mental health.
January a Healthcare Commission report revealed that more than a
third of people diagnosed with psychosis are being given excessive
levels of antipsychotic medication.
1997 around 950,000 prescriptions of antipsychotics were written
out to psychiatric outpatients in England. The total is now around
the prescribing of non-atypical antipsychotics has decreased over
the last 10 years, the use of atypical antipsychotics has seen a
massive increase of 44 times its 1997 level.
care cannot exist without appropriate drug therapy," wrote
Appleby in the report.
Appleby's report does not indicate whether this prescription increase
could be due to there now being more outpatient psychiatric patients
compared to 10 years ago.
his report, entitled Breaking Down Barriers, Appleby pledged to
press on with an "unprecedented transformation" in services
called for community care reform to continue and highlighted government
mental health achievements over the last 10 years, including the
establishment of more assertive outreach, crisis resolution and
early intervention teams.
increases in funding and in numbers of staff have created the essential
foundation for changing the way that care is delivered," he
critics, pointing to cuts in mental health services, have said that
Appleby is painting "too rosey a picture".
this month Appleby also published a mental health progress report
where he hightlighted that more than 13,000 extra mental health
professionals had been recruited to the NHS since Labour came to
power in 1997.
Appleby's Breaking Down Barriers report (pdf)
31, 2007: People with psychosis on too much medication - report
advises NHS trusts on how to improve medication prescribing for
people with mental health problems
May 2, 2007:
More than 13,000 extra mental health professionals recruited to
lead reform of services - statistics laid out in 10-year progress
report by professor Louis Appleby, the government's national director
for mental health
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