Alternatives to medication – STOMP & STAMP


In the wake of the discovery of serious abuse at Winterbourne View hospital, including the overuse of medication to manage behaviour viewed by others as challenging (Department of Health, 2012), NHS England launched the Stopping over-medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both (STOMP) initiative and highlighted the importance of reviewing the use of psychotropic medication whilst also considering how alternative types of support could be used to improve a person’s quality of life (NHS England, 2017). Since this time NHS England rightly expanded on this work to include Supporting Treatment and Appropriate Medication in Paediatrics (STAMP) to highlight the need to ensure children and young people get the support that they need around medication and that alternatives are considered where appropriate (NHS England, 2018).

The need to consider alternatives to medication is further supported in NICE Guidance which sets out the need to consider non-medication interventions as the first line treatment for behaviour thought to be challenging (NICE, 2015). The guidance describes alternative strategies including the concept of behavioural strategies such as Positive Behavioural Support (PBS).

PBS is one way of thinking about alternative types of support for people and it is important to note that the experience of every person will be different depending on their needs and the needs of those around them. However, the value base remains the same, to keep the person at the centre and aim to support them to lead the life they want to live.

Through the PBS forums and communities of practice that have developed as a result of the PBS workforce development work in the North East and North Cumbria, there are many person specific examples that showcase the positive impact upon quality of life for the people affected by this approach. Although these stories are shared locally and celebrated, we feel it is important for people outside of these forums to hear these stories as powerful examples of alternatives to medication that they can relate to and apply to their own lives or practice.

The following video stories aim to share the positive impact of considering alternatives to medication and give you ideas and encouragement to explore further resources. Please use the resources section of this website to explore any topics that come up in these videos further.


Watch Shane’s story, where using alternative types of support led to a reduction in his medicines. Now he has more energy and is living the life he wants


Watch Ethan’s story about how he’s been able to reduce his anti-epileptic medicine using alternative types of support and is enjoying life a lot more.


Watch Ann-Marie show how she was supported through a STOMP STAMP review and now feels more confident.


Watch Debbie talk about her experiences of successfully supporting her daughter Lucy using alternatives to medication.