GP prescribing of antibiotics fell 3.5% in 2013

Antibiotic prescribing in general practice fell by 3.5% in 2013, but prescribing rates remain 4% higher than in 2010, according to Public Health England (PHE) figures.

Antibiotics: GPs cut prescribing rate, PHE data show
Antibiotics: GPs cut prescribing rate, PHE data show

Data released in the English surveillance programme for antimircrobial utilisation and resistance report suggest GPs have tightened control over prescribing rates as widespread resistance to antibiotics continues to rise.

GPs have previously been criticised for contributing to the growing resistance problem by prescribing antibiotics inappropriately in non-urgent cases and even for coughs and colds to placate 'pushy' patients.

The total daily defined dose (DDD) of antibiotics in general practice currently stands at 21.5 per 1,000 inhabitants per day, 4% higher than the amount prescribed in 2010.

In comparison, prescribing to hospitals inpatients has risen by 12% since 2010. The largest increase was seen in other primary care services, which jumped by 32% over the four years.

PHE flagged the rapid rise in other primary care services as a concern and suggested it required investigation. It questioned whether the spike in prescribing could have resulted from out-of-hours centres dealing with demand running over from in-hours general practice.

Prescribing rates lower in England

The figures show that the vast majority of prescribing still takes place in general practice, which was responsible for 78.5% of antibiotic prescribing. Other community prescribers, predominantly dentists, were responsible for 6.2%, while the rest were from hospitals.

Durham, Darlington and Tees had the highest consumption of antibiotics from general practice, with a prescription rate 40% higher than London.

Practices in England overall prescribed 10% fewer items than Scotland, 22% fewer than Wales and 52% fewer than Northern Ireland.

Professor John Watson, deputy chief medical officer, said: ‘Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to health security facing the world today and everybody must take action.

‘We want to support all doctors and other prescribers in reducing their prescribing rates where possible.  These data will play an important part in highlighting regional variations in prescribing.’

Recent research has shown that one in seven courses of antibiotic treatment prescribed by GPs fails due to resistance.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Close up of a man turning off a light switch

GP's online carbon calculator helps practices cut emissions and save money

A Yorkshire GP has developed an online calculator that is helping practices to reduce...

GP wearing surgical mask speaks to patient in consulting room

General practice recruitment scheme falling short by thousands of staff

A recruitment scheme designed to bring 26,000 extra people into the general practice...

(Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid speaking

Sajid Javid writes thank-you letter to 'outstanding' primary care staff

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has written a thank-you letter to primary...

Sign pointing to entrance of COVID-19 vaccination hub

Parts of QOF and enhanced services to halt until March to speed COVID booster rollout

NHS chiefs have agreed to suspend parts of the QOF and some enhanced services until...

NHS sign

Barriers to hospital treatment creating 'two-tier' NHS, GPs warn

Long waits for hospital treatment linked to the growing NHS backlog and a rise in...