Improving the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia

In February 2011, Sir Ian Carruthers, Chief Executive of NHS South West and Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, wrote to SHA Chief Executives to invite them to adapt four recommendations to drive down inappropriate prescribing antipsychotic medication and providing alternative ways of working and interventions that improve the safety, quality of life and outcomes for people with dementia.

The recommendations include:

  • For 2011-12, all localities (PCTs or clusters depending on your local arrangements) undertake local audits of current practice on antipsychotic prescribing for people with dementia in four areas:
    1. prescribing by acute and community hospital doctors
    2. prescribing by psychiatrists
    3. prescribing by general practitioners
    4. prescribing in care homes
  • To increase local accountability for prioritisation, SHAs ensure that PCTs meet the requirement in the Revision to Operating Framework for 2010-11 to publish their progress on implementing the National Dementia Strategy.
  • Jim Easton, the National Director for Improvement and Efficiency has asked the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement to support and enable a campaign style approach to reducing inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medication as part of the QIPP work stream on “mobilising and organising”. This work will involve mobilising everyone who has a contribution to make, to take action to achieve this goal.
  • SHAs consider regional CQUIN schemes that focus on reducing inappropriate antipsychotic prescribing in dementia.