Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Supporting individuals affected by prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal

We wish to circulate this important article from the British Medical Association (BMA) www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/prescribed-drugs-dependence-and-withdrawal and the letter from Professor Parveen Kumar to Nicola Blackwood MP highlighting the devastating health problems caused by dependence on prescribed drugs.
These are the type of Doctors we might feel safe when our health is being taken care of.

Nicola Blackwood MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Innovation
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall

24 October 2016

Dear Minister

Supporting patients affected by prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal

The British Medical Association (BMA) has taken a leading role in trying to identify what positive action is needed to support patients with dependency and withdrawal due to prescribed drugs. These patients suffer devastating health problems caused by prescribed drugs, such as benzodiazepines, z-drugs, opioids and antidepressants. We would like the government to play its part in providing this much needed support.

Antidepressant prescribing in the UK has more than doubled over the last decade, with over 70 million prescriptions dispensed in 2015 at a cost of over £340 million- this is a major public health issue. The provision of services for these patients is inconsistent across the country and it is clear that a national approach for services and guidance is needed.

Over the last three years, we have been working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders including the medical royal colleges, professional organisations and patient groups, to identify three key measures which we believe are vital to supporting affected individuals. These are:

1. A national 24 hour helpline for prescribed drug dependence The introduction of a national 24 hour helpline for prescribed drug dependence would provide vital, real time support and could be implemented in a relatively short time frame. This national helpline would sit alongside a website and act as a single trusted resource for patients themselves to manage their drug dependence and also for doctors to signpost patients when they need crucial support.

2. A national approach to specialised services for those patients suffering with dependence on prescribed drugs There are currently a small number of charity groups providing support but they cannot meet the vast demand. In the absence of specialist services, patients are often referred to general drug and alcohol services, which again have few resources or indeed the training or skills to manage prescribed dependence.

3. Robust guidance on tapering and withdrawal management for psychoactive medications There is currently inadequate guidance in this area. NICE have recognised this is an issue and is considering the development of guidance on managing prescription medicines associated with dependence and withdrawal. It is vital that this guidance is developed and we would welcome any support you could offer in this area.

We fully acknowledge there is much more the medical profession could do to support these patients. To this end, we are working with key stakeholders to ensure doctors and medical students are adequately trained in managing the risks associated with prescribing psychoactive medications.

I would very much welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our work, and to look ahead to plan what needs to be done next to support these patients. I attach a copy of the BMA’s analysis report ‘Prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal - building a consensus for action’, which provides more information on the work we have done so far on this important issue.

I would be grateful if your PA could kindly contact Susan Bahl, Senior Public Affairs Officer at the BMA on 020 3058 7457 to arrange an early meeting at your convenience.

With best wishes

Professor Parveen Kumar CBE
Chair, BMA Board of Science

Read the letter (PDF)

Saturday, 17 December 2016

R.I.P. Robert Dellar

From the Mental Health Resistance Network
Devastating news. Robert Dellar, an integral member of MHRN has died today. We are in deep shock. Robert was one of the founders of Mad Pride in the UK, has been both a worker in mental health and an on and off survivor. His knowledge was extensive, his integrity impeccable, his politics were based on compassion and justice. How will we survive without this great man? We are at a loss this evening. Robert organised a protest late in 2010 which was held in Hyde Park and from this some of us were inspired to set up MHRN. Recently he has been very active in MHRN and was one of the people who took part in some iconic banner drops. He was a stabling force in MHRN, unrestricted by convention, but always rational and reasonable. He was also a talented writer, a great friend to us and to everyone who lived with mental health issues and those who lived on the margins of society. Whether you knew him or not, he was a friend. We loved him very much.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

December FEEL meeting

The next FEEL meeting is Monday 19 Dec at 6.30 pm in LARC at 62 Fieldgate Street, E1 1ES.

There will be mince pies!  
(Other seasonal goodies welcome from any generous hands.)

We might have a couple of items of business, as well.  
Hope to see lots of you on the 19th.  

Friday, 9 December 2016

Depression Research Engagement Event

Dear​ ​All​,
There are 2 events which I am organising in January at the Tavistock Clinic. The flyer is attached and below. The events aim to engage people who have experience of mental health conditions and carers in discussing a recent research study carried out at the Tavistock looking at the effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy for treatment resistant depression. The event also seeks to engage service users in considering what sorts of research should be carried out in future by the Tavistock. I would be most grateful if there was any way you could help to circulate information about these events so that any service users and carers who might be interested in coming can find out about them and decide whether to come along. Registration details are on the flyer. Please let me know if there is any more information you would like about the events, I am very happy to be contacted to answer any questions.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Dr Susan McPherson
School of Health and Human Sciences
University of Essex
Colchester CO4 3SQ

Depression Research Engagement Event

for: service users, carers, public, GPs and commissioners
at: Tavistock Clinic, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA

Dates: 10th January 2017 9.30am-12.30 or
27th January 2017 4.30pm-7.30pm

***RSVP***places limited***


Dr Susan McPherson: An overview of findings from the Tavistock randomized controlled

trial of psychodynamic psychotherapy for treatment resistant depression

 Dr Anita Berlin: A GP perspective

 Birgit Kleeberg: A psychotherapist perspective

 TBC: A client perspective

Share your views, comment, critique

The events will involve taking part in a focus group to discuss your thoughts about the
research, how it might or might not influence you as a practitioner, service user, carer or
​ ​
commissioner; and what type of research you think would be useful in this area in the future.

We welcome the sharing of all opinions and comments. We will also ask you to complete a
brief online survey when you register as well as after the event and 3 months later.

​Service users and carers taking part in the event and completing the surveys will receive a £20 high-street voucher to thank you for your time and can be reimbursed for up to £10 in travel expenses. 

Any questions?
If you have any questions about the event before you register, please contact:
Dr Susan McPherson T: 01206 874143 E: smcpher@essex.ac.uk