Local GPs are working with patients to only prescribe antibiotics when absolutely necessary this winter.
NHS Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been encouraging its 120 practices and branches to safeguard these vital medicines for the future, as overuse of antibiotics mean they are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate.
Dr Paul Dudley, NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG’s Medicines Management Prescribing Lead and a GP at Cotmore Surgery in Kingstanding, said: “For most healthy people, your body’s immune system does a great job fighting infections like coughs, colds, sinusitis, earache and sore throats, all of which will usually get better without the need for antibiotics. In fact most of these infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria, and antibiotics are useless against viruses.
“Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic; this is known as antibiotic resistance. This means antibiotics will no longer work when we really need them, such as in serious illnesses, after operations and during cancer treatment or childbirth.”
The CCG has been tackling this global issue by working with its GP practices to ensure antibiotics are prescribed appropriately, and has seen a 10% reduction in antibiotic prescribing in the 12 month period from April 2015 to March 2016, compared to the previous 12 months.
This year the CCG will again be supporting the annual Antibiotic Awareness Week (14-20 November) by encouraging practices and patients in Birmingham to sign up to become an Antibiotic Guardian. The CCG is also urging those at risk, such as over 65s, those with long term health conditions, pregnant women and young children, get a flu vaccination to help protect their health further.
- From April 2015-March 2016 prescribers in Birmingham CrossCity CCG reduced their prescribing rate for antibiotic prescriptions by 10% compared to the previous 12 months (April 2014 to March 2015). Source – ePACT prescribing data, NHS BSA.