Don't blame GPs for high rates of antibiotic use — society must play its part, says RCGP

Publication date: 26 February 2018

Responding to research published by Public Health England (PHE) on antibiotic prescriptions written in primary care in England, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Today's figures are extremely disappointing but they must not be used as an excuse for criticising GPs who are working their hardest to reduce antibiotic prescribing, whilst grappling with countless other workload pressures and a shortage of GPs.

"If GPs do prescribe antibiotics, it is because, in their expert opinion, they are the most appropriate treatment available, given the unique circumstances of the patients before us. However we are still coming under considerable pressure from some patients who need to understand that antibiotics are not a 'catch all' for every illness.

"Antibiotics are excellent drugs when used appropriately, and for many bacterial infections there is no alternative.

"But antimicrobial resistance is now a major global health threat and responsibility for tackling this does not lie solely at the door of GPs -  the whole of society must play its part.

"The College has supported public health campaigns to raise awareness of the impact of antimicrobial resistance and we have worked with Public Health England to develop the TARGET antibiotics toolkit, to support GPs and other healthcare professionals in the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.

"We have also launched our '3 Before GP' campaign encouraging the public to consider alternatives before visiting the GP with minor illnesses."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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