South Tyneside GPs among most likely to prescribe antidepressants

A GP writing out a prescription. Credit: PA.
A GP writing out a prescription. Credit: PA.

South Tyneside GPs prescribe higher levels of antidepressants than many others around the country.

Data compiled by the House of Commons Library shows family doctors in Jarrow prescribed 1,661 prescriptions per 1,000 people registered with a GP.

Prescription drugs. Credit: PA.

Prescription drugs. Credit: PA.

In South Shields this figure was 1,620.

By comparison, one of the lowest ranking constituencies is Winchester in Hampshire, which saw just 519 prescriptions for antidepressants issued.

The highest rates are found in Easington in County Durham, with 2,136.

In second place is Houghton & Sunderland South, with 2,001 prescriptions while Sunderland Central also ranks high, with a figure of 1,703.

Prescription drugs. Credit: PA.

Prescription drugs. Credit: PA.

Elsewhere in the North East, family doctors in Durham City, issued 1,311 items of antidepressant medication.

Easington also saw the second highest number of proscriptions - after Louth & Horncastle in Lincolnshire - for any medication in the whole of the country with 32.4 items per person last year.

For antibacterial drugs, Easington came third, after Clacton in Essex, and Redcar in the Tees Valley.

The study found that rates of antidepressant prescribing are lower in areas with a higher black and minority ethnic (BME) population.

These areas also tend to prescribe a higher proportion of drugs in the following categories: diabetes, antihistamines, and skin conditions.

Prescription rates for obesity, bronchodilators - taken for conditions including asthma and COPD - and psychoses are higher in areas with more deprived households

Bronchodilators also tend to be the most closely linked - along with prescriptions for painkillers, and nausea and vertigo - to areas where more people have long term health problems

The statistics were pulled together as they prescription rates for medicines and treatments provide a useful measure of the burden of illness and disease across the country.

The Commons Library briefing looks at constituency level statistics for GP prescribing across England and shows which areas have the highest and lowest prescription rates, as well as rates for specific drugs.

The lowest prescription rates are all found in London Boroughs; Kensington (9.5 items per person registered with a GP), Cities of London & Westminster (9.5) and Hampstead & Kilburn (9.8).

After adjusting for differing age structures, the constituencies with the highest cost of prescriptions per head are Knowsley in Merseyside, Blackley and Broughton in Greater Manchester, and Liverpool Walton. The lowest are found in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, Twickenham in London, and Chesham & Amersham in Buckinghamshire.