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Widespread CRP testing in general practice ‘could cut 10m antibiotic prescriptions a year’



Giving GPs widespread access to point-of-care tests for C-reactive protein could cut up to 10 million prescriptions for antibiotics and save the NHS £56m a year, a report claims.

The consensus report – endorsed by leading GP antibiotic prescribing researchers and backed by industry – called for CCGs to ‘find innovative ways’ to fund point-of-care (POC) C-reactive protein (CRP) testing, in line with NICE and Public Health England guidance on management of respiratory infections and antimicrobial stewardship.

Professor Chris Butler, professor of primary care at the University of Oxford, who contributed to the report, said his team had shown POC CRP testing was ‘cost-effective’ and ‘can be incorporated into the workflow in most practices’.

He added that increasing uptake of CRP testing in primary care ‘will provide clinicians with additional diagnostic information to help them make crucial antibiotic prescribing decisions, especially where there are high levels of diagnostic and prognostic doubt’, adding that ‘a low CRP result available at the point of care can safely rule out benefit from an antibiotic’.