CMG’s STOMP event – ‘The over medication of people with learning disabilities is a breach of their human rights’

14 June 2017

CMG’s STOMP Best Practice Guide

I was very proud yesterday to be at the launch of CMG and Alderwood’s STOMP Best Practice Guide which took place at Church House, Westminster.

STOMP (Stopping the over-medication of people with learning disabilities and autism) is a national NHS England campaign which was launched last year due to the high numbers of people with learning disabilities, autism and challenging behaviours being over prescribed anti-psychotic medication as a form of ‘chemical restraint’ for their behaviours and the devastating consequences this can have.

This influential event which was organised by CMG and hosted by Norman Lamb MP was attended by over 120 clinical experts and industry professionals.  Norman spoke about the fact that over medication of people with learning disabilities was a breach of their human rights. Speeches were given by NHS England representatives Anne Webster, Clinical Lead for the Learning Disability Programme; Dr David Branford, Pharmacists Adviser to the NHS England STOMP programme; and Carl Shaw, Learning Disability Adviser. Together, they highlighted the importance of co-production and involving experts by experience.

Norman Lamb presents at CMG's STOMP event
Norman Lamb presents at CMG’s STOMP event

Relatives of Alderwood’s* service users, who featured in the ground-breaking Channel 4 Dispatches documentary ‘Under Lock and Key’, gave emotional accounts of the devastating impact that over-medication had had on their loved ones who had been locked up in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATU’s) after being sectioned under the MHA. They also spoke of the amazing autism specific, person centred, low arousal care they are now receiving at Alderwood and how this has changed their lives completely. As one relative said ‘the difference is like night and day’. Their loved ones are now enjoying life to the full and one individual had even got himself a voluntary job.

Other families, who still had children in ATU’s, spoke distressingly about the awful side effects that the over medication and sedation was continuing to have on their loved ones and the complete lack of Autism specific care that was available for these vulnerable children and adults.

Stuart Polman, who is a Registered Manager at one of CMG’s 120 services, also gave a presentation, providing a first-hand account of how the service and the change in non-drug methods has transformed a service user’s life.

CMG’s service user drama group, The Brelade Players, also gave a highly entertaining dance performance of their interpretation of STOMP.

CMG’s STOMP Best Practice Guide examines the success of non-drug methods of treatment and the need for autism specific care, as a way of managing challenging behaviour, rather than the reliance on the use of psychotropic medication.  The Guide is based on real examples of people it has supported in CMG and Alderwood*.

*Alderwood is a subsidiary of CMG

You can see a copy of CMG’s Best Practice Guide here.

Here are just some of the quotes from family members that were presented at the conference.

“My son could hardly stand. The nurse in charge told me that if she gave him the next dose of medication, he would be in danger of going into respiratory distress.”

“My son is currently in an ATU, but I have him home every weekend.  In hospital, they administer PRN and use restraint. Although I have no support and am a single parent, I have never had to do these things.”

“Seeing my little boy, only just 13 years old and mentally age five, slumped in a chair, falling in and out of sleep while I wiped the drool from his chin… I will forever have nightmares over seeing such distress.”

“For the last 8 years, E has been injected with Clopixol, a rarely used, controversial antipsychotic medication, as well as other anti-psychotics. And yet, he is not mentally ill. He has autism and learning difficulties.”

“S was put on Risperidone. His weight more than doubled (13 stone to 29 stone in six years). His liver was failing. There was no difference in the severity of his meltdowns pre -, during and post- medication.”

CMG's STOMP event at Church House Westminster
CMG’s STOMP event at Church House Westminster
Parent, Isabelle, presents at CMG's STOMP event
Parent, Isabelle, presents at CMG’s STOMP event
CMG's Brelade Players
CMG’s Brelade Players perform at STOMP event

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