Thursday, March 31, 2016

Awareness and incentives reduce prescribing of antibiotics in UK

Contributed by Siddarth D & Dr. Tamhankar 
Over 2 million fewer antibiotic prescriptions were dispensed in primary care throughout 2015 compared to the year before, according to data from NHS (National Health Service) in the UK. This was 7.9% reduction was attributed the incentives introduced to general physicians as well as extensive campaigns to build awareness on antibiotic resistance. 

The NHS along with the Public Health England Department had initiated these campaigns with emphasis in hospitals on vaccinations, general hygiene practices and judicious prescribing of antibiotics. Healthcare facilities and healthcare providers  following these recommendations and demonstrating fall in antibiotic prescribing and consumption were given financial incentives through the campaigns. Given that safely reducing the amount of antibiotics prescribed to patients was an important part of work to tackle antimicrobial resistance, the  NHS and the PHE had started series of campaigns to reduce prescription of antibiotics. It was based on the fact that inappropriate use and overuse of antibiotics were known drivers of resistance, so reducing the amount of antibiotics consumed slowed bacteria developing resistance to these vital drugs and therefore helped prevent antibiotic-resistant infections. 

The NHS officials have lauded these results and promised to do more to tackle the menace of antibiotic resistance. This a good impetus for other countries to follow, by taking up initiatives involving the healthcare system itself to achieve substantial results in curbing antibiotic resistance.

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