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PHE campaign to stop patients pressuring GPs for antibiotics set to relaunch

Public Health England is set to relaunch its campaign to stop patients pressuring GPs for antibiotics next week, following positive responses from GPs.

The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign first launched last year, and was welcomed by GPs with 93% of those surveyed saying that it supported them in refusing patient requests for antibiotics.

The campaign, set to return on 23 October, will inform the public about the risks of antibiotic resistance and urge them to take their clinicians advice on antibiotics.

This year it will include additional resources, such as non-prescription pads for GPs to give to patients with UTIs, to provide self-care advice. 

It previously provided practices with leaflets and posters to aid conversations with patients, as well as non-prescription pads to give patients advice on how respiratory tract infections can be managed at home, if antibiotics are not required.

Last year, almost three-quarters of GPs surveyed said the pads for respiratory tract infections helped to reassure patients.

PHE deputy director for antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections Dr Susan Hopkins said: ‘Keep Antibiotics Working aims to support healthcare professionals by helping to explain the risks of antibiotic resistance to the public so they are primed to take their doctors advice if they are told antibiotics are not needed.’

She added: ‘We are very pleased with the campaign’s success so far, research shows it’s been extremely effective in helping to change the dialogue between patients and GPs and reducing the pressure to prescribe antibiotics when they are not needed.’

In 2016 PHE announced that GP antibiotic prescribing had decreased by 6% over three years, although research commissioned by the body has stated that between 8% and 23% of all antibiotic prescriptions in primary care were still inappropriate.

PHE announced this number as ‘at least’ 20% and set a target to cut it in half.


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