Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Tackling prescribed medicines dependence - identifying risk, using data, and priorities for regulation and treatment

Morning, Thursday, 8th October 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will consider priorities for addressing prescribed medicines dependence in England.


Areas for discussion include:

  • tackling the root causes of dependence and associated health inequalities
  • prescribing behaviour and the use of data
  • developing regulatory guidelines
  • alternative treatments and service provision

It will be an opportunity to assess progress and next steps following the recommendations from Public Health England in their Prescribed medicines review report which found that the problem was higher than initially expected - and with the Secretary of State describing the report as a wake-up call - and adding "I refuse to let this escalate to the level seen in the US."


Why this is relevant now - the context:

  • PHE’s evidence review report which looked at dependence and withdrawal from prescribed medicines, making key recommendations for action moving forward, including:
    • transparency and accountability - calling for increased use of data, and making this more available
    • clinical guidance - improving this for prescribed medicine dependence and withdrawal
    • shared decision making - including better enabling patients to make informed decisions based on the information available to them
    • support - improving what is on offer from across the healthcare system
  • Launch of the second phase of the independent review into drug misuse led by Dame Carol Black, which will consider the provision of treatment and recovery service
    • We are delighted Dr Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University and former drug policy advisor to President Barack Obama - who is providing Dame Carol with expert support and an international perspective - will be a speaker at this seminar
  • The MHRA review of the risks and benefits of using opioids and ways of preventing misuse and over-prescription, expected to be published shortly
  • Warnings of the impact of COVID-19 on mental health from The Royal College of Psychiatrists and forecasting a tsunami of mental illness
  • ONS findings that the number of people reporting high levels of anxiety has sharply elevated during the COVID-19 pandemic

The agenda:

  • Priorities for addressing prescribed medicines dependence - with Steve Taylor, Programme Manager, Health Improvement: Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco & Justice Division, PHE
  • Utilising data to monitor local prescribing data - with Dr Ben Goldacre, Director, The DataLab, University of Oxford and Chair, HealthTech Advisory Board
  • Effective patient support  and tackling root causes of dependence - deprivation and health inequalities, developing clinical guidelines, supporting informed decisions, and the impact of COVID-19
  • Supporting the appropriate use of prescribed medicines, and identifying risk earlier - with Professor Tim Higenbottam, President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
  • Developing a regulatory framework to support appropriate opioid medicine use - with Dr Nicola Parkinson, Senior Scientific Advisor, MHRA
  • Lessons from the management and mismanagement of prescription medication and addiction in other countries - with Dr Keith Humphreys, Advisor to the Independent Review of Drugs
  • Treating dependence and improving service provision - commissioning, funding, access to alternative treatments, and research priorities

The discussion in detail:

Implementing recommendations and the impact of COVID-19

  • priorities for addressing prescribed medicines dependence
  • implementing improvements in the key areas identified in the PHE review - on transparency, accountability, improving support, clinical guidance, shared decision-making, and research priorities
  • raising awareness of prescribed medicines dependence - strategies for improving engagement with patients, the health workforce and the general public
  • leadership - what is required to implement recommendations at local health system level
  • the impact of COVID-19 on prescribed medicines dependence, with:
    • increased pressure on mental health and anxiety
    • delay to operations
    • changes to care delivery practices such as an increase in the use of telemedicine

Assessing the root causes of dependence

  • examining the impact of health inequalities, with the review finding that dependence on prescription medicines is linked to deprivation
  • increasing public awareness of both the risks and benefits of medications

Addressing overprescribing and utilising data

  • utilising data to provide insight into prescribing behaviour in local areas
  • providing effective support to patients - as well as developing guidelines for appropriate use of prescribed medicines, and supporting the workforce in following them
  • improving engagement with psychologists, counsellors and therapists and ensuring that patients can make informed decisions, including around withdrawal symptoms and support services

The regulatory framework

  • how regulatory guidelines can be developed to minimise the risk of dependence and addiction
  • whether regulation should be extended to additional classes of medicines.
  • communicating the risks of opioid medicines to both healthcare professionals and patients, and the options available for non-cancer patients
  • the role of labelling on opioid packaging, and making clear the medicine can be addictive, as well as considering best practice

Treatment and research

  • provision of services to treat dependence, including priorities for funding and the commissioning of services to improve the local support available
  • the role of social prescribing schemes and talking therapies in treating dependence, including:
    • how these can be scaled up in their use for dependence
    • ways of increasing the availability of alternative treatments on offer
  • research priorities for prescribed medicines dependence - looking at prevention, treatment, supporting those at risk, and managing withdrawal
  • what can be learned from Dame Carol Black’s independent review of drugs misuse that can be fed back into treating prescribed medicine dependence

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.


Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, and senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with representatives from the NHS, executive agencies including clinical staff, regulators, local authorities, service providers and social prescribers, the independent and third sectors, patient groups, pharmaceutical companies, research and development, law firms, consultancies, and others affected by the issues discussed as well as academics and think tanks, and reporters from the national and specialist media.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



Keynote Speakers

Steve Taylor

Programme Manager, Health Improvement: Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco & Justice Division, PHE

Dr Ben Goldacre

Director, The DataLab, University of Oxford and Chair, HealthTech Advisory Board

Professor Tim Higenbottam

President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine

Dr Keith Humphreys

Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University; Advisor to the Independent Review of Drugs and former drug policy advisor to President Barack Obama

Keynote Speakers

Steve Taylor

Programme Manager, Health Improvement: Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco & Justice Division, PHE

Dr Ben Goldacre

Director, The DataLab, University of Oxford and Chair, HealthTech Advisory Board

Professor Tim Higenbottam

President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine

Dr Nicola Parkinson

Senior Scientific Advisor, MHRA

Luke Montagu

Co-Founder, Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, and Secretariat, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence

Dr Keith Humphreys

Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University; Advisor to the Independent Review of Drugs and former drug policy advisor to President Barack Obama

Speakers

Dr Manir Hussain

Chair, Shropshire and Staffordshire Pharmacy Local Professional Network

Dr Paul Hughes

Executive Medical Director, We Are With You

Professor John Read

Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London