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Gold, incentives and meh

GPs switch their focus from tackling resistance

Dr Helen Burgess is concerned antibiotic prescribing in her area is creeping up again after a massive drop in the wake of the landmark standing medical advisory committee guidelines.

Dr Burgess, prescribing lead at South Manchester PCT, saw prescription rates in her area fall by 17 per cent in 1999 as incentives were introduced to prescribe eight older antibiotics in 80 per cent of cases. Patients were also given information on resistance.

But antibiotic use has risen by 1.6 per cent in the last two years, suggesting the 1998 SMAC guidelines and the local campaign had lost their initial impact.

Dr Burgess, a GP in Fallowfield, said: 'We're still below the national average and of our 28 practices only one hasn't achieved the 80 per cent in this year's scheme. But there are so many issues GPs have to think about with prescribing.

'Unless you can keep the momentum up other priorities tend to get in the way.'

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