Drug resistance campaign hits home as number of antibiotic prescriptions drops across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Waterlooville

THE NUMBER of antibiotics being prescribed across Portsmouth and south east Hampshire has dropped by nearly 17,000 thanks to better awareness about when to use them.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 3:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 4:50 pm
Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

GPs are pleased that the number is falling following a national drive to combat antibiotic drug resistance.

Dr Alastair Bateman, GP and prescribing lead for NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: ‘We want to keep antibiotics working so that they are effective when they are needed to treat serious bacterial infection such as pneumonia and meningitis, and we also need them to prevent and treat infections during chemotherapy and certain surgeries.’

‘Common infections such as colds, flu, most sore throats, coughs and some ear infections are inconvenient, but they are often due to viruses – put simply, antibiotics are of no use in treating viral illnesses.’

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From November 2016 to October 2017, 132,168 antibiotic prescriptions were issued by GPs in Portsmouth, but from November 2017 to October 2018, this fell to 123,376.

For Fareham and Gosport prescribing fell from 110,949 to 105,078, and in south east Hampshire from 114,046 to 112,257.

Simon Cooper, deputy director for medicines optimisation for NHS Portsmouth CCG, gave advice in a bid to keep the number falling.

He said: ‘Remember if you’re unsure you can always see a pharmacist who will be able to help you with any questions.

‘If the person you to speak to for health advice says you don’t need antibiotics, then trust their advice about what is the best treatment for you.

‘Return any unused antibiotics to a pharmacy – don’t keep them and be tempted to reuse them if you have similar symptoms again. It’s important to get diagnosed again as each antibiotic only works for certain types of bacteria and not all.’

Other advice includes taking antibiotics for the correct number of days without stopping even if you’re feeling better and taking doses at the right time and bearing in mind some antibiotics are affected by food, drink and other medication.

The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they are becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of ‘superbugs’. There is concern new strains of bacteria may emerge that can’t be treated by existing antibiotics.