latest health care news

19.04.16

Online tool will allow GPs to compare antibiotic prescriptions

Reducing antibiotic prescriptions will be made easier for GPs with a new online tool allowing them to compare how much they prescribe with other practices.

The online tool, Fingertip, will allow GPs to access monthly antibiotic prescriptions data from across the country, including surgeries with similar demographics to their own.

The tool shows that NHS Camden CCG in London prescribes the fewest antibiotics with 18,585 items for every 1,000 residents, followed by NHS West London CCG, NHS Brent CCG and NHS Brighton and Hove CCG.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said: “Infections have become wise to our antibiotics — they are outsmarting the drugs and may soon leave us powerless to fight the simplest of bugs. If we don't take serious action now, illnesses that are relatively harmless today could become killers tomorrow.”

For example, Public Health England issued a warning last week urging people to practice safe sex after reporting 34 cases of gonorrhoea which cannot be treated by azithromycin due to antibiotic resistance since November 2014.

NHS efforts to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions have led to a 7.7% reduction in antibiotics prescribed in the past year.

Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Any tool to support GPs to make informed decisions about whether to prescribe antibiotics should be welcomed.

“But this data must not be used as a stick to beat GPs with. If, for example, one practice can be seen to be prescribing more than a neighbouring one, there may very good reasons for that.”

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