The Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment (REST) project, led by Prof Niro Siriwardena, was featured on “Tonight” the flagship ITV1 documentary programme, the highest rating current affairs series on UK television for the past decade. In the programme “Waking up to Insomnia” screened on 17 November at 7:30pm, Geraint Vincent revealed some results of the Great British Sleep Survey and found out from sufferers how it affected their lives. The programme discussed the problems of insomnia, why sleeping tablets were not a good solution and why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) although effective is not widely available in the NHS. The REST project funded by the Health Foundation aimed to improve primary care for insomnia by developing primary care friendly sleep assessment and CBTi. A follow-on translational project, Improving Primary Care Resources for Effective Sleep Treatment (IPCREST) funded by East Midlands Health Innovation and Educational Cluster aims to spread the learning through seminars, workshops and an e-learning programme for healthcare practitioners. Further information is available on the University website and at the REST website. Niro is presenting on “How to provide better care for insomnia: Resources for effective sleep treatment in the general practice consultation” at the Sleep and Mental Health conference at the Royal Society of Medicine on 23 November 2011.
At a well-attended seminar on 30th March, academics from Universities of Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium presented at University of Lincoln.
Sibyl Anthierens (medical sociologist working at the University of Antwerp) presented on “Benzodiazepines: sleeping through the problem”. This included works on the perceptions of general practitioners, patients and nurses on initiating (or avoiding) benzodiazepines in primary care.
This was followed by Thoen Anke (general practitioner) speaking about e-learning, specifically an interactive e-module including several tools and interventions useful within a benzodiazepine-consultation to support GPs.
Prof Thierry Christiaens (general practitioner, clinical pharmacologist and professor of general practice) then described an experimental real-life training programme set up with a simulation patient to look at the effect of possible interventions/tools within a benzodiazepine consultation.
Finally, Hanne Creupelandt (clinical psychologist) spoke about interactive meetings taking place with GPs in local quality groups discussing the non- pharmacological approach of insomnia, anxiety, stress and benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Good working links have been formed with our European colleagues in Belgium particularly in the area of insomnia and benzodiazepines and we plan to build on this with future work.