Patel MX, Bishara D, Jayakumar S, Zalewska K, Shiers D, Crawford MJ, et al. (2014)
The National Audit of Schizophrenia (NAS) examined the quality of care received in England and Wales. Part of the audit set out to determine whether six prescribing standards, set by the national clinical guidelines for schizophrenia, were being implemented and to prompt improvements in care. Mental Health Trusts and Health Boards provided data obtained from case-notes for adult patients living in the community with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. An audit of practice tool was developed for data collection. Most of the 5055 patients reviewed were receiving pharmacological treatment according to national guidelines. However, 15.9% of the total sample (95%CI: 14.9–16.9) were prescribed two or more antipsychotics concurrently and 10.1% of patients (95%CI: 9.3–10.9) were prescribed medication in excess of recommended limits. Overall 23.7% (95%CI: 22.5–24.8) of patients were receiving clozapine. However, there were many with treatment resistance who had no clear reason documented as to why they had not had a trial of clozapine (430/1073, 40.1%). In conclusion, whilst most people were prescribed medication in accordance with nationally agreed standards, there was considerable variation between service providers. Antipsychotic polypharmacy, high dose prescribing and clozapine underutilisation in treatment resistance were all key concerns which need to be further addressed.