GPs in Kirklees hand out more prescriptions for antibiotics than other parts of the UK


Public Health England says that a fifth of prescriptions made across the country are inappropriate

GPs in Kirklees are significantly more likely to prescribe antibiotics than in other parts of England.

The research has been revealed as experts warn that a fifth of prescriptions made out nationally could be inappropriate.

Doctors in primary care in the area gave out the equivalent of 1.34 prescription items per person in 2016 – one of the highest rates in England.

Overall, the rate of prescribing was 25% higher than the England rate of 1.08 prescriptions per person.

Calderdale also had a prescribing rate that was significantly higher than the England average at 1.22 per adjusted person.

Both areas have seen the gap in antibiotics widen from the England average compared to 2015, up from 1.18 prescription items per person in Calderdale, while Kirklees has seen a fall from 1.35.

But the England rate has fallen faster.

Research published by Public Health England showed that least 20% of all antibiotics prescribed in primary care in England are inappropriate.

It said that antibiotic prescribing nationally should be reduced by 10% by 2020, in accordance with the national ambition to cut levels of inappropriate prescribing in half.

Professor Paul Cosford, PHE medical director, said: “Antibiotics are critical to modern medicine, saving millions of lives since the 1940s when they were first introduced. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them threatens their long term effectiveness.

“We all have a part to play to ensure they continue to help us, our families and communities in the future.

“I urge all practices to look at ways they can reduce their inappropriate prescribing levels to help make sure the antibiotics that save lives today can save lives tomorrow.”

Antibiotics are important for treating serious bacterial infections but their effectiveness is threatened by antibacterial resistance.

They are unique among drugs as the more they are used, the less effective they become and over time resistance develops.

In response to this, the UK government set an ambition to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50% by 2020.

The research sought to quantify the amount of current antibiotic prescribing that is inappropriate.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Drug-resistant infections are one of the biggest threats to modern medicine and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics is only exacerbating this problem.

“We are leading the world in our response but we need to go further and faster otherwise we risk a world where superbugs kill more people a year than cancer and routine operations become too dangerous.”

The research found that the majority of antibiotic prescriptions in English primary care were for infections of the respiratory and urinary tracts.

However, in almost a third of all prescriptions, no clinical reason was documented.

For most conditions, substantially higher proportions of GP consultations resulted in an antibiotic prescription than is appropriate according to expert opinion.


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