Health staff shortlisted for national award for their work in transforming care of people with a learning disability

Bury CCG

NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Medicines Optimisation team has been shortlisted for a national award for their work in transforming care of people with a learning disability by the Best of Clinical Pharmacy Awards.
The award ceremony, which will take place in London on 27th April 2018, celebrates successes across all sectors of the pharmacy profession.
The team has been nominated for the ‘Excellence in General Practice Pharmacy’ category for their work on a scheme that is currently taking place in Bury. The programme aims to reduce the prescribing of anti-psychotic drugs in people with a learning disability or those with a limited ability to communicate who display challenging behaviour.
Life changing events can often be a trigger or cause for challenging behaviour in people with a learning disability, this is often diagnosed as psychosis and treated with anti-psychotic medicines. Whilst these medicines can help to calm behaviour, the side effects for patients taking some of these medicines on a long-term basis can include symptoms of lethargy or weight gain which increases their risk of diabetes as well as other health conditions.
The project led by Nigget Saleem, Clinical Lead for Medicines Optimisation and Learning Disabilities for NHS Bury CCG, follows national guidance set by Public Health England which calls for a collaborative approach to stopping over-medication of people with a learning disability and autism . Bury is currently leading the way nationally with their work in this area and is sharing their learnings and advising on practical next steps with their counterparts across Greater Manchester and England.
Nigget Saleem who is heading up the project said: “There is evidence nationally that people with a learning disability, autism or both are being prescribed medication to treat behaviour that can often be an expression of distress or a form of communication rather than any underlying mental health disorder. As health professionals it is our duty to ensure these medications are used appropriately”.
“The scheme has highlighted the importance of communication and a collaborative approach with health professionals, patients and their carers. It has provided GPs with more tools and support to make changes. Carers have also seen the benefits from the reduction plans and are working with us to put these in place.”