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Education around deprescribing: ‘spread and embed’ the story so far
  1. Alan J Poots1,
  2. Barry Jubraj1,2,
  3. Nina L Barnett2,3
  1. 1NIHR CLAHRC Northwest London, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Medicines Use and Safety, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, England and London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, Middx, Harrow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Barry Jubraj, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, 5th Floor, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK; barry.jubraj{at}kcl.ac.uk

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Introduction

In the editorial of this deprescribing themed issue, we began by recognising that deprescribing is not easy. For many clinicians, the decision to deprescribe is hampered by the lack of evidence for safe methods of deprescribing. We identified the need for education to support clinicians in their deprescribing endeavours. Here, we describe our strategy to educate around deprescribing, which emerged from the medicines optimisation work stream at the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Northwest London (CLAHRC NWL). CLAHRC NWL is a research and implementation programme1 ,2 that uses the model for improvement3 as a central component of quality improvement (QI) initiatives. We contend that education about deprescribing should adopt both a ‘top down’ to include senior clinicians, and ‘bottom up’ to include junior staff and students. This is supported by a patient safety initiative that was found to be best facilitated by such a combination approach to change.4 We will focus on the latter (hereafter bottom-up approach): educating junior and undergraduate clinicians, so that they enter the workplace with the confidence and skill to at least consider the need for deprescribing both at the point of initial prescribing and when undertaking medication review. We are conscious that the term bottom-up approach can have a number of meanings, here we use it to refer to the capacity to lead to grass-roots changes that will grow and pervade practice, rather than ‘command and control’ regulations on actions.

The theory and practice of education are, at this level, andragogy (the education of adults), thus the principles of adult learning should be used;5 yet the evaluation techniques used for child education may prove useful for long-term assessments of change, for instance, those studies seeking to address differentials in earnings. …

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