Winterbourne Medicines Programme – transforming how we provide care

Zoe Lord

Zoe Lord

Zoë Lord – Improvement Manager, NHS Improving Quality

Hopefully you will have heard of, or read the national response from the Department of Health that followed the shocking revelations around care provided at Winterbourne View Hospital. As part of the national review, concerns were reported over the misuse of medications in people with learning disabilities.

Following the response, NHS Improving Quality is working in partnership with NHS England on this really important subject of ensuring that there is safe, appropriate and optimised use of medication for people with learning disabilities who demonstrate behaviour that challenges.

The scope of the programme of work is really broad and includes children, young people and adults who live at home, in the community, care homes, hospitals, assessment and treatment centres, schools, secure settings, prison and in custody – everywhere really! Within this remit, we are focusing on four groups of medicines – antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilisers and benzodiazepines.

With the support of our board members and reference group, the following objectives were agreed for this programme:

  • Ensure the service user is central to the work
  • To review and develop a deep understanding of issues around current medication processes.
  • To identify and share notable practice.
  • To identify a method of measuring change and improvement.
  • Test new ways of working to improve process where appropriate.
  • To improve awareness of the issues around medication.

By working with patients, families and professionals, we have already found lots of issues and concerns about the use of medication for people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges. There are big challenges ahead to improve the lives of everyone involved, and we believe partnership working is absolutely crucial to improving care and services.

We are delighted to be working with project sites across the country to develop a deeper understanding of the issues, capture a baseline for testing improvements and share good practice for patients, clients, families and carers. We are also delighted to be involved in a community of practice to share learning, patient stories, research and resources. Why don’t you have a look at the group at www.6cs.england.nhs.uk – sign in, click on the ‘communities’ tab at the top of the page and select the learning disability community.

If you would like further information about the programme, want to get involved, share your views or experiences, please get in touch through our website –www.nhsiq.nhs.uk/winterbourne or via twitter @nhsiq #winterbourne_meds @ZoeLord1 @CarolMarley3

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