It is estimated that in England between 10-20% of prescriptions are unnecessary or inappropriate.
In primary care GPs are asked to reduce total antibiotic prescriptions by 10% by 2021.
In hospitals, doctors are aiming to reduce total antibiotic use by 3% and the antibiotics of last resort (e.g. carbapenems) by 5% over the next three years.
London’s GPs are leading support for a new campaign to encourage the public and each other to use antibiotics more effectively by reducing the level of prescribing.
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside people to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when they are really needed.
It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.[i]
The ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign urges residents in London to always trust their doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when they need antibiotics and if they are prescribed, take antibiotics as directed and never save them for later use or share them with others. The campaign also provides effective self-care advice to help individuals and their families feel better if they are not prescribed antibiotics.
See how Leeds CCG raised awareness of the threat of antibiotics misuse to young people through community engagement activities across Leeds.
Find out more about the Antibiotic Guardian campaign.