A deprescribing network led by two pharmacists will be launched in June 2019 to help address the issue of inappropriate polypharmacy across England and make deprescribing a “normal thing to do”.
The English Deprescribing Network (EDeN) will join similar networks in Canada and Australia in encouraging the more rational use of medicines across England.
The network will be co-chaired by Emma McClay, medicines optimisation pharmacist at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, and Cherise Gyimah, medicines project lead at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
The EDeN aims to bring together healthcare professionals, researchers and policy makers to share ideas, best practice and resources, help improve communication between patients and clinicians and shape the national strategy around appropriate prescribing and the avoidance of medicines-related harm.
McClay and Gyimah told The Pharmaceutical Journal that they hope to support the learning and behavioural change required to ensure people are taking the right medicines.
“Deprescribing can feel isolating and clinicians have said there is a real lack of resource out there,” McClay said.
“We know academics are working on the evidence to back up decisions around deprescribing — [the EDeN is about] bringing those conversations together and assuring [healthcare professionals] that what they’re doing is the right thing.
“We need to keep momentum and conversation and make [deprescribing] a more normal thing to do.”
The EDeN grew out of a deprescribing workshop delivered by McClay and Gyimah at the chief pharmaceutical officer (CPhO) conference in March 2018 when they were both working as CPhO clinical fellows. The workshop highlighted the urgent need for transformational change across the health system to address inappropriate polypharmacy.
The network is supported by national organisations, such as NHS England and NHS Improvement, and will be launched at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress on 7 June 2019, where McClay and Gyimah will be holding a workshop to give participants the opportunity to contribute to the development of the network.
Writing in The Pharmaceutical Journal on 16 May 2019, Cara Tannenbaum, geriatrician and director at the Canadian Deprescribing Network, said that work the Network had carried out educating patients about inappropriate prescribing had led to a 27% deprescribing rate over six months.