CCGs handed 50p per patient incentive to slash GP antibiotic prescribing

CCGs could earn up to 50p per NHS patient for hitting targets to reduce GP antibiotic prescribing from April 2016.

NHS England is aiming to cut GP prescribing of antibiotics by 4% in 2016/17, bringing it back to 2013/14 levels, as part of what officials have called the 'world's largest healthcare incentive scheme'.

CCGs are being incentivised to cut antibiotic prescribing through the 'quality premium' scheme, which offers millions of pounds of extra funding each year to CCGs for hitting a range of targets.

Hospitals will also be offered additional funding 'for gathering and sharing evidence of antibiotic consumption and review within 72 hours of the beginning of treatment' through the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) scheme.

GP antibiotic prescribing

However, evidence from previous years shows CCGs have been unable to achieve many of the targets required to earn quality premium funding

GPonline revealed in January that CCGs across England missed out on £380m in quality premium cash available for 2013/14 and 2014/15.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: 'Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to patient safety and the quality of care. These measures will build on the vital work the NHS is already doing to tackle the overuse and inappropriate prescription of antibiotics, so that in years to come patients can continue to be protected from otherwise lethal infections.'

Antibiotic resistance

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: 'The NHS, governments and industry all have key role to play in combating antimicrobial resistance which poses a catastrophic global threat. These measures will put the NHS at the forefront of meeting this challenge.'

GPonline revealed exclusively last year that some CCGs spend twice as much per registered patient on antibiotic treatments.

But GPs have been successful in slowing the growth in use of antibiotics, with prescribing falling to a five-year low over the year to November 2015.

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