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Prescribe antibiotics only when needed, says leading GP

Prescribe antibiotics only when needed, says leading GP

A leading doctor from Blackburn with Darwen has written to GPs in the borough urging them to only prescribe antibiotics when absolutely necessary.

In the letter aimed at raising awareness of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Dr John Randall Executive GP and Clinical Lead for Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said: “As we approach yet another busy winter, I would like to raise awareness of our collective responsibility to prescribe antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.

“Resistance to antibiotics is becoming an increasingly worrying issue – not just here but globally. The number of infections due to antibiotic-resistance bacteria is on the rise and is related to the over-use of antibiotics.”

He told GPs that one of the major challenges at this time of year was dealing with patients expectations regarding antibiotics but they needed to work together to reassure them.

Dr Randall wrote: “Antibiotics are neither necessary nor effective for common winter illnesses. In these cases they are as effective as prescribing sunscreen. We all need to work together to reduce unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics in primary care in order to prevent a long term public health problem with antibiotic resistance.”

The European Antibiotic Awareness Day, held every year on 18 November, is a Europe-wide public health initiative which encourages responsible use of antibiotics.

Antibiotics only work against infections that have been caused by bacteria, and as all colds and most coughs and sore throats are caused by virus’s antibiotics won’t work.  The best treatment is to drink plenty of fluids and to rest.

The number of infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing globally and is related to the over-use of antibiotics.  Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. They become ‘antibiotic resistant’, so that the antibiotic no longer works. The more often an antibiotic is used, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant so when antibiotics are needed in the future they may no longer work.