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Sonia Filmer

I am prescribing pharmacist who works on the acute adult mental wards for Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, in the North East of England. I have two children and two dogs and in 2022 completed the Great North Run, which has always been an ambition of mine. I started learning karate two years ago and recently received my brown belt!

Award Title: Master Scholars

Start Date: 1 May 2022

End Date: 30 April 2023

Project Title: Facilitators And Barriers to the De-prescribing Of Benzodiazepines and Z-drug Hypnotics in patients under 65 on Adult Mental Health Wards (FABDOB study)

Brief Summary: Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed group of medicines used to treat anxiety, insomnia and to manage alcohol withdrawal. Z-drug hypnotics are a newer group of medicines which are used to treat insomnia. There is a place for the use of benzodiazepines and z-drug hypnotics on adult mental health wards, but they are often continued beyond a length of time where they are beneficial. This can result in dependence and withdrawal effects if stopped. Regular review of this medication and, if appropriate, reduction in or cessation of prescribing of benzodiazepines and z-drugs is encouraged. However, there is limited evidence available as to what can support or act as a barrier to the review of benzodiazepines and hypnotics on adult mental health wards.

This project aims to understand what barriers currently exist to reviewing benzodiazepines and z-drug hypnotics and to explain what interventions help health care professionals review this medication.

Methods: We plan to interview, online, staff who are involved in the review of benzodiazepine and hypnotic medication on NHS adult mental health wards in a variety of NHS mental health trusts. These interviews will be semi structured, following a question outline, so that the interviews can be analysed, but also flexible, so that all different themes and opinions can be picked up from the interviews. The interviews will focus on what helps NHS staff to review and stop benzodiazepines and hypnotic medication and what prevents them. We will analyse the data from the interviews to build up an in depth understanding of what can help NHS staff to review benzodiazepines and hypnotics and what can be a barrier to this.

Benefits anticipated: The project will try to identify what helps in the review and de-prescribing of benzodiazepines and z-drug hypnotics. This may then encourage further research to see what could be done to support staff in reviewing of these medicines.