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Volume 494: debated on Friday 19 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 18 May 2009, Official Report, columns 1229-30W, on tranquillisers, what measures his Department intends to take to reduce the level of tranquilliser prescribing. (278060)

We expect individual prescribers to ensure that tranquilisers are prescribed appropriately depending on the individual needs of patients. In exercising their professional and clinical judgment, prescribers should consider available guidance and best practice.

The Department issued advice in 1994 and 1999 warning doctors of the dangers of benzodiazepine dependence. The Chief Medical Officer issued further advice in 2004 reminding doctors that benzodiazepines should be prescribed only for short periods. This advice is reiterated in the British National Formulary which is issued to prescribers every six months. Copies are available from:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what results from prescribed medication withdrawal treatments have been reported by the NHS in respect of treatments provided by (a) David McKeown, Belfast and (b) the tranquilliser withdrawal clinic in Oldham in the last two years. (279386)

The Department does not hold information about the results from the prescribed medication withdrawal treatment reported by the Oldham withdrawal service, however local information held can be made available by contacting Oldham primary care trust directly.

Any results from work by David McKeown in Belfast, would not be reported to this Department.