To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make it his policy that it be mandatory for clinical commissioning groups to commission services to support patients withdrawing from prescribed medicines; and what criteria are used for deciding whether services should be mandatory.
The public health responsibilities which were transferred to local authorities by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 include the commissioning of specialist treatment for people who are dependent on drugs including prescribed medicines. The responsibility of clinical commissioning groups in this area is medicines management, which includes ensuring good prescribing practice, ensuring that prescribers are supported to manage withdrawal in non-complex cases and facilitating referral to specialist help where appropriate.
Public Health England (PHE) is supporting several local authorities that have expressed an interest in developing their support for people affected by addictions to medicines. This pathfinder work is locally designed and led.
PHE is assisting each area to develop their work plans, establish management, monitoring and oversight as well as working with them to ensure that appropriate clinical governance is in place. It will subsequently work with them to support delivery and monitor outcomes.
Information is not held centrally on the number of people prescribed particular medicines or the duration of treatment.