OpenPrescribing December Newsletter
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We are recruiting!
We are recruiting clinicians who will work as informaticians in our team at the Bennett Institute building tools such as services OpenPrescribing and OpenSAFELY.
Applications close at noon on January 4th. You can read more and find out how to apply on our blog.
Recent Changes to OpenPrescribing Measures
We have recently updated some of our measures on OpenPrescribing including “Low/medium intensity statins”, “Low priority Lutein and antioxidants”, and “Environmental impact of inhalers”. We also retired the “High Cost Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers” and “High Cost Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers” measures. For more details see our recent blog post.
New Outlier Prescribing tool
This month we are previewing the release of a tool for detecting outlier prescribing. The top 5 lower- and higher-than-average prescribing of drugs within a category are reported at STP, CCG, PCN, and practice level, with links for further analysis on OpenPrescribing.net. Please tell us what you think about the tool and any items it identifies using the survey links in the description.
Our maps have recently been updated to reflect new NHS organisation structures. Magnificently, Mattia Ficarelli (a data analyst in the NHSX Analytics Unit) made a contribution to our openly available code to make this happen! Keep an eye out for a blog in the New Year from Mattia on what he did and how it illustrates the benefit of working with openly available code.
Recent research publications
Prescribing of zuclopenthixol
We recently wrote to the Pharmaceutical Journal after a letter was published highlighting the risks around prescribing zuclopenthixol in primary care. You can read our letter here where briefly we found that although most clinical commissioning groups (CCG) had no primary care prescribing of zuclopenthixol acetate in the past 6 months, a minority of 14 CCGs did. You can read more about this issue and how you can monitor zuclopenthixol acetate prescribing in our blog.
Trends and variation in antidepressant prescribing
BJGP Open and the Lancet Psychiatry have published two studies related to mental health and antidepressants.
- Trends and variation in antidepressant prescribing in English primary care: a retrospective longitudinal study (Bogowicz et al., 2021)
- Trends in antidepressant prescribing in England during COVID-19 (Walker et al., 2021)
Since the start of the pandemic, much of the OpenPrescribing team have been building and researching in our powerful new OpenSAFELY platform. You can read all our outputs on the website and our new OpenSAFELY reports website but we think the following analyses will be of interest
- Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage Report: These weekly reports provide detailed breakdowns of vaccine coverage in various clinical and demographic subgroups for 1st, 2nd and 3rd/booster doses.
- Impact of national guidance on switching anticoagulant therapy during COVID-19 pandemic: Our analysis found increased switching of anticoagulants from warfarin to DOACs was observed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in England following national guidance. There was a small but substantial number of people co-prescribed warfarin and DOACs during this period.
- Prescribing of DOACs to people with mechanical heart valves: Our analysis ascertained 15,457 individuals with a mechanical heart valve recorded in their records, of whom 1,058 (6.8%) had been prescribed a DOAC during the study period. NHS England have subsequently issued a national patient safety alert on the potentially inappropriate anticoagulation of patients with a mechanical heart valve.
We’ve updated OpenPrescribing with October 2021 data. Head over to www.openprescribing.net to explore and sign up to your organisations custom email alert for tailored feedback about your prescribing.