GPs could be incentivised not to prescribe antibiotics, says NICE

NICE has suggested that GPs could be incentivised through the QOF to limit antibiotic prescribing after it released guidance that calls for stricter monitoring and peer reviews of GP prescribing.

Antibiotics: NICE considering QOF target (Photo: iStock)
Antibiotics: NICE considering QOF target (Photo: iStock)

NICE draft guidance released on Wednesday calls for all local areas to establish antimicrobial stewardship teams to ‘monitor and evaluate’ GP antimicrobial prescribing to help combat the looming threat of resistance.

The teams should also ‘investigate’ in cases where GPs are prescribing very low or very high volumes of antimicrobials.

Local systems should be developed to allow for peer review of prescribing in an area, the guidance says. This should ‘encourage an open and transparent culture that allows questioning of antimicrobial prescribing practices’.

GP incentives

NICE’s director for clinical practice, Professor Mark Baker told the Daily Mail that NICE is considering adding incentives for GPs to not prescribe antibiotics into the QOF.

He was reported as saying: ‘Clearly there should be some structural incentive to turn that trend around and start using them less.’

A spokeswoman for NICE told GP that there were currently no concrete plans to introduce antibiotic prescribing incentives into the QOF, but confirmed that the institute saw this area as a 'potential candidate' for a new QOF target at some point in the future.

GP guidance

The guidance reiterates that GPs should not prescribe antibiotics to patients who are likely to have a self-limiting condition.

It also suggests implementing IT support systems to help GPs decide whether they should prescribe a patient an antimicrobial.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘GPs can come under enormous pressure from patients to prescribe antibiotics so we welcome a team approach to ensuring that this is done appropriately and that they are used responsibly.

‘However, this must be done in an open and supportive way.

‘It is essential that GPs, their practice teams and pharmacists discuss the alternatives with patients who ask for antibiotics to treat minor illnesses, most of which will get better on their own over time.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

More than 80% of patients report 'good' overall experience of general practice

More than 80% of patients report 'good' overall experience of general practice

Public satisfaction with GP services remains high, with 82% of patients reporting...

GPs condemn 'deafening silence' from chancellor on COVID support funding

GPs condemn 'deafening silence' from chancellor on COVID support funding

GP leaders have condemned a 'deafening silence' on COVID-19 relief funding for general...

Viewpoint: How has the government handled coronavirus? I feel a rant coming on

Viewpoint: How has the government handled coronavirus? I feel a rant coming on

A national newspaper asked readers how well the government had handled coronavirus....

General Practice Insights: The future of the patient consultation after COVID-19

General Practice Insights: The future of the patient consultation after COVID-19

Welcome to the first of our General Practice Insights reports on key issues for the...

Pandemic could shatter social prescribing as one in three link workers plan to quit

Pandemic could shatter social prescribing as one in three link workers plan to quit

GPs have demanded more resources to support social prescribers after a poll found...

GPs say at least half of patient consultations should be carried out remotely after COVID-19

GPs say at least half of patient consultations should be carried out remotely after COVID-19

A GPonline survey of more than 500 GPs has predicted that over half of patient appointments...