Hardworking GPs need timely warnings about local antibiotic shortages in fight against Strep A, says College

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to members’ reports of antibiotic shortages in some areas, making it harder for GPs to control and treat cases of Strep A in children.

Professor Hawthorne said: "We are hearing reports from some of our GP members that they are struggling to access some antibiotics. It appears that these supply issues are localised and we have been assured by the Government that there is no national shortage of antibiotics.

"In cases where a specific type or form of antibiotic is not available, GPs will work with pharmacists to prescribe suitable alternatives for patients. This may mean prescribing a different antibiotic, or a different form of antibiotic, such as a tablet as opposed to liquid. While this is not ideal as there will have been reasons for the original prescription and children are often able to take liquid medication more easily, the main priority must be to ensure our young patients receive suitable treatment as soon as possible.

"When a prescribed medication is unavailable or in short supply, it is worrying for patients and frustrating for GPs and pharmacists who are already under considerable pressure and are now seeing an increasing number of parents, worried that their child might have a serious case of Strep A. It's vital that the Government communicates clearly and in a timely way to healthcare professionals if there are any supply issues at a local or national level,  and that mitigations are in place.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 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.