Following the publication of national statistics showing a reduction in the number of antibiotics that GPs have given to patients, clinicians at NHS West Hampshire CCG can also confirm an above average reduction in our area.
Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading.
In west Hampshire, there has been a 7.5% reduction in the number of antibiotics being prescribed to patients by GPs. This means that the actual number of items being prescribed has reduced by 26,000.
In addition to this, GPs in west Hampshire already currently prescribe approximately 10% fewer antibiotic prescriptions compared to the nationwide average for England.
This is good and important news for patients. This is because the NHS needs to prevent the progression of what is known as ‘antibiotic resistance’. This is where the overuse of antibiotics leads to them becoming less effective and, in some cases, even the emergence of ‘superbugs’ which antibiotics cannot treat.
Many minor conditions do not require antibiotics. By only using antibiotics for very serious conditions and infections or when we have conditions which are unlikely to clear up without them, antibiotics can remain as effective treatments.
The good news is not confined to just west Hampshire. NHS Improvement has announced that, nationally, the total number of antibiotics prescribed by GPs is down by 7.3% in just one year – a total of 2,696,143 fewer items
Dr Emma Harris, local GP and Clinical Director of Medicines Management at NHS West Hampshire CCG, said:
“GPs in west Hampshire have long been leading the way in tackling the overuse and over-prescribing of antibiotics. It’s great news to see the progress being made not just in west Hampshire, but across the nation.
“It’s vital that antibiotics are prescribed and used in the right way. Antibiotic resistance might sound a bit complicated, but it’s very serious because we do not want antibiotics to become less effective. If new strains of bacteria emerge, we need existing antibiotics to be effective in treating them.”