GPs beat NHS target for reduction in antibiotic use

GPs have been applauded for dramatically reducing antibiotics prescribing over the past year, significantly exceeding targets set by NHS England.

The total number of antibiotic prescriptions dropped by 7.3% from 2014/15 to 2015/16, compared to a target of 1%, while use of broad-spectrum antibiotics fell by 16%, compared to a target 0f 10%.

Dr Mike Durkin, NHS national director of patient safety, said: 'This fantastic result achieved in just one year is testament to the huge efforts of GPs, pharmacists and local commissioners. Healthcare staff across the country should be congratulated for this.'

A scheme that awards CCGs for reducing antibiotic prescriptions has been extended into 2016/17 after the dramatic reductions last year. Up to 50p per head of population will be awarded to CCGs that continue to meet targets on reducing overall antibiotic and broad-spectrum prescription rates.

Antibiotic prescribing

The recently published O’Neill review on antimicrobial resistance said that unless antibiotic resistance is tackled, in 2050 one person would die every three seconds from antibiotic resistant disease.

It is currently estimated that 700,000 people each year die from drug-resistant diseases including malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies also warned about the spectre of antibiotic resistance and recently declared that the golden age of antibiotics has ended'. She said that effective global action across the pharmaceutical, medical and agricultural industries was needed to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Last year, GPonline revealed huge variation in spending per patient on antibiotic prescribing between CCGs.

Read more: Variation in CCG antibiotic spending

Photo: iStock

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