Birmingham doctors prescribe fewer antidepressants than in other parts of England


INTERACTIVE MAP: if you click on your Clinical Commissioning Group area you can find the number of prescriptions and the spending in antidepressants for the year 2014.

Birmingham health bodies prescribe fewer antidepressants than in other parts of England.

According to latest data released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the number of prescriptions recorded by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) operating in Birmingham was below the national average of 1197 items per 1000 people last year.

CCGs in Birmingham are among the highest funded in England; Cross City being in the top 20 spending CCGs on antidepressants. However, taking into account the population registered, the total cost of items prescribed per 1000 people in NHS centres in Birmingham is below the average spending nationally.

Selly Oak, Northfield and Hall Green, the places with more demand

People living in Selly Oak, Northfield and Hall Green are more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than those living in other parts of the city.

NHS South Central operates in these areas where its commissioning group recorded 886 antidepressants prescribed per one thousand people last year, giving them the highest number of antidepressants dispensed in Birmingham.

Sandwell and West Birmingham is the second CCG in the city based on the number of antidepressant prescriptions, with a rate of 826 items prescribed, followed by Birmingham Cross City with 799 items per one thousand people.

If you want to know more about the prescriptions in your CCG, in the interactive map above you can find the number of prescriptions recorded by CCG in 2014 and the antidepressants’ cost for that year.

6% rise in antidepressant prescriptions in 2014

The consumption of antidepressants is on an upward trend in England since the crash of 2008. In Birmingham, the amount of antidepressants dispensed is also increasing. During the last year the number of items prescribed rose by 6%, one point lower than the increase in the whole of England.

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The latest Nuffield Trust and the Mental Health Foundation report suggests that the rise is not based on a corresponding increase in depression or a change in the way antidepressants are administered but instead reflects genuine changes in prescribing practice.

Although there has been a recent increase in the prevalence of depression recorded by GPs, this change cannot fully account for the increased dispensing of antidepressants.”

Our analysis showed that some socioeconomic factors, such as housing, were important predictors and that an increase in unemployment was associated with an additional increase in prescribing levels.”

Meanwhile, mental health charities say that it is not possible to know which is the real cause of the increase and that more research needs to be done. They say that factors, such as mental health services underfunding and the change in people’s attitudes, who are more willing to admit they have depression, can be also drivers of the rise in prescribing antidepressants.


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