Writing to GPs 'can help to reduce unnecessary prescriptions'

Medical Government/ NHS related news

The government has revealed the results of a new trial demonstrating the impact of writing to GPs on reducing the number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

Results from the trial, which involved more than 1,500 GP practices, showed that writing to GPs about their antibiotic prescribing habits resulted in 73,000 fewer prescriptions over six months - a 3.3 percent reduction.

“A trial has revealed that writing to GPs about their antibiotics prescribing resulted in 73,000 fewer unnecessary prescriptions.“

This not only equates to direct savings of more than 92,000 pounds in prescription costs, but also aids wider efforts to slow the growth of antibiotic resistance - a problem that threatens to render many commonly-used drugs useless in the near future.

In the trial, the first group received letters telling them 80 percent of practices in their local area were prescribing fewer antibiotics per head than their own, along with guidance on three ways to make sure any antibiotic prescriptions were necessary.

Meanwhile, a second group saw patients targeted with leaflets and posters about why reducing the use of antibiotics is important. This intervention was not shown to have any effect on prescription rates.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said: "This innovative trial has shown effective and low-cost ways to reduce unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics, which is essential if we are to preserve these precious medicines and help to save modern medicine as we know it."

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