GPs still prescribing unnecessary antibiotics

A SURVEY of over 1,000 GPs has found that 70 per cent prescribe antibiotics because they are unsure if an infection is bacterial or viral.

It also found that 90 per cent of GPs feel pressured by patients to prescribe antibiotics and 45 per cent say that they have prescribed them for a viral infection when they knew it would not treat the condition.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the Longitude Prize, run by the innovation charity Nesta. In June the public voted for antibiotics to be the focus of the £10 million prize, the remit being "to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will help health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time".

Last year over 50 million antibacterial items were dispensed in the community in the UK and antimicrobial resistance poses a "catastrophic threat" to health in the coming decades.

Tamar Ghosh who leads Longitude Prize, explains, "Across the globe we need accurate point-of-care diagnostic tools to maximise the chances that antibiotics are only used when medically necessary and that the right ones are selected to treat the condition. In the next five years, the Longitude Prize aims to find a cheap and effective diagnostic tool that can be used anywhere in the world."

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