FINANCE: NHS Salford is seeking the support of two other commissioners to instruct the mental health trust to switch to prescribing cheaper antipsychotic drugs.

The primary care trust, along with GP commissioners, has been trying to negotiate a move away from the use of high-cost antipsychotic medication at the foundation, according to an NHS Salford board paper.

NHS Salford commissioning director Alan Campbell wrote that the “critical cost consequence” of the hospital’s prescription of these drugs is the “subsequent impact on primary care prescribing for patients whose medication is initiated by consultants at the trust”.

But consultant psychiatrists at the trust have been “resistant to this control citing specific local clinical determination as the overriding basis for the drugs used”, he added.

Salford’s practice based commissioning operational board has now approved a “clinical protocol directing the use of the low cost drugs as the first line treatment”, and is seeking support from Bolton and Trafford PCTs to issue a joint commissioning instruction to the trust by 1 April.

Mr Campbell added that, in a recent meeting, Greater Manchester West’s chief executive Bev Humphrey had said the foundation would support the implementation of this instruction if it was supported by all commissioners, and underwritten by GP commissioners.