The social care sector is joining together to stop the over-medication of people with a learning disability or autism who use care services in England. The campaign, supported by NHS England, is today encouraging all learning disability providers to sign up to a new pledge called STOMP (or STopping the Over-Medication of People with a learning disability, autism or both).
This campaign is badly needed. Public Health England estimates that every day between 30,000-35,000 people with a learning disability are taking prescribed antipsychotic or antidepressant medication, or both, without appropriate clinical justification. This means that for some people medication is being used as a means of controlling “problem” behaviour, even when alternative evidence-based approaches are available. Long-term use of these medicines can lead to significant weight gain, organ failure and, in some cases, death.
Successfully tackling over-medication is possible when prescribers, commissioners and providers collaborate to achieve positive change. Today, all social care provider organisations supporting people with a learning disability or autism in England are invited to play their part by registering their commitment to:
- Adopting positive behavioural approaches as an alternative to medication
- Advocating for people with a learning disability or autism by ensuring that they, and their family members, are involved in decisions about their medication and that these decisions are reviewed regularly
- Working closely with prescribers