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GPs praised for ‘dramatic’ fall in antibiotic prescribing

GPs have cut down the amount of antibiotics they use ‘dramatically’ over the past year, according to a new report.

NHS Improvement found prescriptions for all types of antibiotic were down by more than 2.6 million on the previous year, to about 34 million in 2015/16.

This meant GPs exceeded their target to cut all antibiotic use considerably, at a 7% overall reduction compared with the 1% target set by public health chiefs.

GPs also massively cut down the amount of broad-spectrum antibiotics they prescribed, with a 16% reduction compared with a 10% target.

It comes after GPs were praised for hitting key ‘Quality Premium’ targets on antibiotic prescribing set for CCGs, ahead of schedule.

The report, Reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics, says: 'The national Patient Safety Team, newly hosted in NHS Improvement, has helped GPs in the NHS to dramatically reduce how often patients are being prescribed antibiotics unnecessarily, cutting the number of prescriptions down by over 2.6 million in one year alone as part of the national fight against antibiotic resistance.’

Dr Mike Durkin, from NHS Improvement, said: ‘This [is a] fantastic result achieved in just one year.’

Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair, said the ‘significant drop’ in prescribing reflected the hard work GPs were doing to improve appropriate prescribing, ‘despite the pressure GPs often face from patients to prescribe antibiotics’.

Dr Baker added that more needed to be done – including work to cut antibiotic use in other settings, such as agriculture, and to come up with new drugs.

But she said: ‘This won’t happen overnight and in the meantime, we need to continue to work together to make the public realise that prescribing antibiotics is not always the answer to treating minor, self-limiting illness.'



Readers' comments (20)

  • I agree with anon 11.18
    Winter 2014-15 had something like 44,000 excess winter deaths compared to approx. 17,000 the year before as the flu vaccine wasn't as effective as usual.
    It was so bad that life expectancy dropped for the first time in over 20years.
    I hope GPs prescribed a few more antibiotics, (and wide spectrum ones) that year; I know I did.

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  • I wonder if it was related to the mild winter rather than anything else. We had this situation a few years ago and it all looked wonderful. Then the following year the incidence of mastoiditis went up considerably and so we started prescribing more Ax. Still, as others have said, it is good to be praised for once!

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  • And I wonder how many antibiotics were given out at A and E to patients that had been refused them by their GPs

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  • Can we have the data for AntiB prescribing by secondary care over the same period please....

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  • According to the BBC news website, CCGs were given money to reduce abx prescribing and some used this to incentivise GPS, with some surgeries making as much as £20k from it.

    Our CCG had no such scheme, we were not offered any scheme or as much as a single penny to reduce abx prescribing.

    So which CCGs were paying GPs to reduce prescribing?

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  • Registrar@10:01 : "drop in antibiotic prescribing all part of evil Tory plot to privatise NHS blah blah"! Give it a rest,mate!Even the most rabid Corbynista would struggle to link the rise in the number of snuffles and snotty noses successfully untreated with a takeover by the wolves of Wall Street.

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  • Evil Tories used planes to spray Chem Trails over New York and caused building 7 to collapse.

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  • I presume this was front page news in the Daily mail/ express

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  • Took Early Retirement

    As has been said before: how long till we read about the rise in the death rate from Sepsis and infections generally?

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  • You ought to see the villification Gp's are getting on the BBC thread for this report . Apparently we've all been given money to stop prescribing AB's . First I've heard of any bribe but could be the Daily Heil

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