Antivirals guidance 'puts care at risk', GPs warn

Guidance on antiviral use from Public Health England ignores scientific evidence and GP opinion, doctors at the LMCs conference have warned.

Dr Green had contacted Public Health England but had received no reply. Pic: JH Lancy
Dr Green had contacted Public Health England but had received no reply. Pic: JH Lancy

GPs have said that Public Health England’s (PHE) advice to use antivirals such as Tamiflu has little evidence base.

Dr Thomas Kinloch from Mid-Mersey LMC said that antivirals are ‘fraught with side effects’ and there is no evidence they work.

‘The PHE policy causes massive disruption to general practice – it puts the care of patients at risk,’ he said.

GPs also expressed concern that they had not been consulted over decisions to use Tamiflu in nursing homes.

‘The working group of experts consists of public health directors, scientists, and pharmacists - but not a single GP,’ Dr Kinloch said.

Dr Andrew Green, chairman of the GPC’s clinical and prescribing subcommittee, said that he had contacted Public Health England with his concerns but had received no reply.

As well as the guidance being ‘contrary to the Cochrane Review’ evidence, prescribing antivirals to prevent infection is outside of GPs’ core work and should be resourced and supported as an enhanced service, doctors said.

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