Portsmouth GPs welcome 'big drop' in antibiotic use amid fears of over-reliance and ineffectiveness

Dr Linda Collie, chief clinical officer for Portsmouth CCG
Dr Linda Collie, chief clinical officer for Portsmouth CCG
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GPs in Portsmouth welcomed a big drop of around 20 per cent in the number of patient prescriptions for antibiotics as fears grow people are becoming increasingly reliant on the drugs.

The figures for June 2019, the last month for which statistics are available, show a major fall in the area covered by the three local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).  

Concerns have been raised that with increasing over-reliance on the drugs patients are becoming more resistant to them. 

In the four years since June 2015, the number of antibiotic prescriptions has fallen from:

- 10,383 items to 8,113 in Portsmouth (22 per cent )

- 9,044 to 7,439 (18 per cent) in Fareham and Gosport

- 9,592 to 7,988 (17 per cent) in South Eastern Hampshire, which covers the A3 corridor from Hayling Island to Whitehill and Bordon, including Havant, Waterlooville and Petersfield.

Medicine teams are taking a pro-active role in promoting alternative treatments to antibiotics where appropriate while GPs are using evidence based practice to ensure correct antibiotic prescriptions. 

Dr Nick Moore, the medicines management lead for Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘I think a growing number of patients are becoming aware of the fact that the more we use antibiotics, the more our bodies can become resistant to them. From a doctor’s viewpoint, this is a very welcome trend.

‘Taking antibiotics encourages bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means they may not be effective when we most need them. Colds, most coughs, sore throats, ear and other infections usually get better without antibiotics, as your body can fight them on its own.’

Dr Alastair Bateman, the clinical lead for medicines management for Fareham and Gosport, said: ‘Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today. Without effective antibiotics, many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy all rely on access to effective antibiotics.

‘Of course, there are many cases where a GP will feel the use of antibiotics is the most appropriate and effective treatment for a patient.

‘But there are often other courses of action that can be taken. Antibiotics can often cause unpleasant side effects too – such as rashes, stomach pains and diarrhoea.’