Department of Health and Social Care
Financial incentives effective at reducing antibiotic prescribing
New figures show antibiotic prescriptions by GPs for common respiratory infections fell by 3% following the introduction of a national incentive scheme.
Public Health England (PHE) has worked with Imperial College London to assess the impact of the Quality Premium on the rate of antibiotic prescribing, the result of which has been published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. The results show that the number of patients prescribed antibiotics by their GP for common respiratory infections, for which antibiotics are generally not needed, decreased by 3% following the introduction of the national incentive scheme.
Taking antibiotics when they are not needed puts people at risk of a more severe or longer infection in the future as antibiotics may not work when they are really needed.
In England, respiratory tract infections, which include coughs, colds and sore throats, are one of the most common reasons for a visit to the GP, with many patients being prescribed antibiotics. However, the majority of respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses in which case antibiotics don’t actually work as they only attack bacteria. For most patients pain and other symptoms can be effectively reduced using drugs such as paracetamol and the infection will generally clear up without further treatment.
Professor Alan Johnson, Head of Surveillance HCAI and AMR at Public Health England, said:
As part of a national strategy to tackle antibiotic resistance, this is one of a range of successful interventions used to support GPs to reduce levels of prescribing. It is important that we continue to reduce the levels of inappropriate prescribing if we are to prevent further increases in drug-resistant infections.
The NHS England Quality Premium scheme was introduced to reward clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for improving their services. It offers financial incentives to CCGs – which decide how funding is spent on health services in their area – for meeting a number of criteria. In 2015 to 2016 this included measures to reduce total antibiotic prescribing by 1%, as well as 10% reduction in prescriptions for broad spectrum antibiotics, used to tackle a range of bacterial infections.
The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research.
Latest News from
Department of Health and Social Care
Move to lateral flow tests for travel begins today26/10/2021 10:10:10
Fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving from non red-list countries can use a lateral flow test on or before day 2 of their arrival in England.
New pilot to help people eat better and exercise more25/10/2021 10:10:10
Pilot scheme will motivate people to make healthy changes to their lifestyle.
Advertising blitz to urge public to get flu and COVID-19 vaccines22/10/2021 16:10:00
National advertising campaign steps up today to encourage people to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID and flu this winter.
Multi-million pound fund to boost adult social care workforce22/10/2021 13:10:00
Adult social care will benefit from £162.5 million of new funding to help workforce retention and recruitment.
UK government secures groundbreaking COVID-19 antivirals21/10/2021 12:10:00
The new antivirals could be rolled out through a clinical study from winter.
Lateral flow tests to be introduced for vaccinated international arrivals15/10/2021 11:10:00
From 24 October fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test, on or before Day 2 of their arrival into the UK. These can be booked from 22 October.
Plan set out to improve access for NHS patients and support GPs14/10/2021 14:25:00
New blueprint will improve access and provide additional funding to increase the proportion of face to face appointments.
UK completes over one million SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences12/10/2021 10:10:10
The UK has now uploaded over one million genome sequences to the international GISAID database, accounting for nearly a quarter of all sequences published globally to date.