College welcomes national action plan in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Publication date: 24 January 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the launch of a Government action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance.

She said: "Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest and most dangerous threats to modern healthcare, and the more high-level support we get to tackle this problem, the better.

"GPs are already making excellent headway in reducing antibiotic use in the community and will only prescribe when they are absolutely necessary and the best course of action for the patient sitting in front of us.

"However, as this national action plan highlights, this is a society-wide issue and not something GPs can be held responsible for tackling on their own.

"We need to get to a stage where antibiotics are not seen by patients as a 'catch all' for every illness, but rather as a serious drug option, usually reserved for when all other treatment options have either failed or been deemed inappropriate.

"Sore throats, for example, are usually caused by viral infections that antibiotics will not help, but they are also usually self-limiting and will get better on their own in a few days with the help of basic over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

"It's crucial that we continue to get this message out, so that we can carry on delivering safe, effective care to our patients both now and in the future.

"It's also astonishing that there hasn't been a new and approved class of antibiotics produced in over 30 years – there have recently been some promising signs, but it’s clear that more investment in the research and development of new drugs to tackle emerging diseases is desperately needed, and if offering appropriate incentives and NHS collaborations with pharmaceutical companies are demonstrated to safely support this, then they should be encouraged."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765
press@rcgp.org.uk

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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