In the wake of growing concerns over the long term impact of prescribing antibiotics, local health officials in Harrogate have announced an 11.3% reduction in the number of antibiotic prescriptions for the year 2015/2016 compared to 2014/2015.
In October, Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) took a number of steps to address antibiotic prescribing levels. – they reviewed and updated the North Yorkshire antibiotic guidelines.
Two information leaflets titled ‘Treating Your Infection’ and ‘When Should I Worry?’ were produced which provided patients with a variety of information on illness duration, self-care advice and the management of respiratory tract infections such as coughs, colds, sore throats and ear aches in children.
These were given to patients by their GP when an antibiotic prescription was not appropriate. An educational event for GPs was also provided by a local consultant microbiologist to highlight the risks of over prescribing.
Speaking about the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics and the reduction in prescription numbers for the last financial year, the CCGs Clinical Chair and Ripon GP, Dr Alistair Ingram said:
GPs often face pressure from patients to prescribe antibiotics, particularly if a condition doesn’t appear to be improving. We can’t ignore warnings that anti-microbial resistance could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050 so we have to tackle this head on both at a local and national level.
The changes implemented by the CCG have seen a positive reduction in the prescription levels for antibiotics and as health professionals we must continue to work with patients to avoid the dangers of over prescribing.
Dr Katharine Scott, Consultant Microbiologist at the Department of Microbiology, Harrogate District Hospital said:
Our local GPs should be proud of the progress they have made in reducing antimicrobial prescribing. We need to continue to work together to remind patients that antibiotics do not work against common illnesses such as colds, flu, most coughs and sore throats, as these infections are caused by viruses.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics encourages antibiotic resistance, making them ineffective. We cannot be sure we will always be able to find new antibiotics to replace old ones. We all need to act now to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance, by taking antibiotics only when they are really needed.