Fall in UK antibiotic prescribing

ANTIBIOTIC prescribing in the UK has fallen by over 5 per cent in a year and 11 per cent since a 2012 peak, according to analysis released by Antibiotic Research UK.

Seasonal variation in prescribing has also halved in a year from 68 per cent to 31 per cent, suggesting GPs are heeding advice not to prescribe for winter colds caused by viruses.

But regional variation in prescribing remains high with 37 of the 326 districts in England still recording an increase in prescribing over the past year. Analysis identified Tendring as the highest prescribing district in the UK – an area of high deprivation with an significant elderly population, both contributing factors.

Antibiotic Research UK and the data analysis firm EXASOL looked at data released by NHS Digital to come up with the figures.

Professor Colin Garner, chief executive of Antibiotic Research UK says: "We see the findings as hugely encouraging, a combination of a reduction in prescribing as well as reduced seasonal variation seems to indicate the message is getting through to GP surgeries and we applaud their work in reducing antibiotic prescribing.

"Earlier this year we started our research to find breakers to antibiotic resistance, with the goal of finding a combination of existing therapies that will 'break' the resistance that bacteria have built to antibiotics and find a fast solution to the ever-growing problem. Initial findings of this research programme will be released by the end of the year. The charity needs to raise £550,000 in 2017 to fund the next phase of its research."