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Home > The patient voice: an analysis of personal accounts of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal submitted to persons in Scotland and Wales.

United Kingdom. All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence. (2018) The patient voice: an analysis of personal accounts of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal submitted to persons in Scotland and Wales. London: All-Party Parliamentary Groups.

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This report collates and analyses 158 personal accounts of people impacted by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal (specifically for antidepressants and benzodiazepines) that were submitted in response to two petitions lodged with parliamentary Petitions Committees in Scotland1 and Wales in 2017.

The report blends qualitative data in the form of verbatim quotes with quantitative data derived from a formal thematic analysis structured using a ‘lean thinking’ approach to process improvement. The analysis identifies eight systemic ‘failure points’:
(1) Prescriptions were offered as an apparent first course of action
(2) No-one said they were warned about possible side effects or dependence and associated withdrawal effects so there was no possibility of informed consent
(3) Treatment was sometimes continued despite drugs not helping and / or severe side effects being experienced
(4) People experienced a lack of access to effective management / informed medical oversight of their withdrawal process
(5) Doctors did not recognise new symptoms as withdrawal and discounted patient experience
(6) Instead doctors assumed the cause of the new symptoms lay within the individual which led to unnecessary tests and referrals
(7) There are no dedicated nationwide NHS services to access for help and
(8) No effective avenues for patient feedback on their experience.


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