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GPs urged to cut antibiotics to help MRSA drive

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs are being told to stop prescribing antibiotics for coughs, colds and sore throats as the Government steps up its drive on ‘hospital superbugs'.

Announcing Labour's new strategy for curbing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, health secretary Alan Johnson called for GPs to cut back on the unnecessary prescription of penicillin and other common antibiotics.

As well as costing the NHS an estimated £1.7 billion a year, the inappropriate use of antibiotics has been implicated in the developing resistance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Antibiotics may also strip the gut flora and allow other infections like C. diff to establish themselves in immunocompromised people.

Dr Mark Enright, an MRSA expert at Imperial College London said:

‘In the old days, before we had problems with resistance, people thought it really didn't matter - you could throw antibiotics at these cases and you would pick up the odd one that was treatable that way', he said.

‘I am sure there are still GPs who think they know best and think antibiotics are the global panacea we once thought they were.'

Antibiotics crackdown: GPs urged to help stop spread of MRSA Antibiotics crackdown: GPs urged to help stop spread of MRSA

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