NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group are making headway with a national initiative called STOMP which aims to stop the over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both.
As part of national efforts, the CCG have commissioned a STOMP team who over the next 12 months will work closely with GP practices in Leeds, patients and their carers. The team includes a Mental Health Specialist Pharmacist and Technician.
The STOMP project was launched in 2016 by NHS England and other partner organisations to tackle the over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both. Medicines such as antidepressants or antipsychotics (Usually known as psychotropic medicines) are usually prescribed for mental health issues such as psychosis, depression or anxiety. Although these medicines are right for some people, sometimes there are other ways of helping people.
A study by Public Health England finds 1 in 6 adults with a learning disability is being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs by their GP that are normally used to treat major mental illnesses. Taking these kind of medicines for the wrong reason and for too long can cause long-term consequences such as putting on weight, feeling ‘drugged up’ and other serious problems with physical health.
Dr Sam Browning, GP and Clinical Lead for Learning Disability for NHS Leeds CCG said: “STOMP is about making sure people get the right medicine for when they really need it. In Leeds we have recognised that some people with a learning disability or autism have been prescribed a medicine when they don’t need it. Unfortunately this can affect quality of life and cause long-term health problems.
“The Leeds STOMP team aims to raise more awareness around this issue and inform patients, carers and professionals around all the options that they may have. There are non-drug options and practical ways of supporting people now.”
Remember that your medicine might be right for you, and don’t stop taking your medicine or change it without medical advice.
If you are concerned about the medication you may be taking, you can ask your GP, psychiatrist, specialist doctor, pharmacist or nurse prescriber.
For an easy read leaflet about the project visit: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/stomp-easy-read-leaflet.pdf