A Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation programme

Antidepressant prescribing across England

Each year, 6% of adults experience an episode of depression. Antidepressant medication is of proven value in treating depression (NICE, 2009), however it is important that health services seek to minimise instances of over- or under-prescribing of these important drugs. We explore how rates of antidepressant prescribing varied across the country in this interactive map.

The rate of antidepressant prescriptions per person varied widely across different primary care trusts (PCTs). Between October and December 2012, 15 PCTs prescribed between 50 and 100 items per 1,000 people, whereas 20 PCTs prescribed over 250 items per 1,000 people. One PCT (NHS Blackpool) prescribed 331 items per 1,000 people.

This map shows that PCTs with the lowest rate per person in 2012 are almost all located in and around London (all of the PCTs within the M25 are in the lowest quartile) while the PCTs in the upper quartile appear to be largely in the north (27 of the 36 PCTs).

Source:  Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) Prescribing by GP practice, October to December 2012.