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Antibiotic prescribing: “we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t”

7 December 2015

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Tim Ballard, vice chair of the Royal College of GPs, said that in terms of antibiotic prescribing “we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

This comes after new research linked patient satisfaction with higher rates of antibiotic prescriptions.

If practices reduce their prescribing by a quarter, this corresponds to a 5-6 point reduction on GP satisfaction ratings, the analysis from King’s College London revealed.

In response, Ballard said the research was “concerning” and “it truly is a case of being damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”

In August, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) published guidance recommending that GPs who consistently overprescribe antibiotics should be referred to the GMC (General Medical Council) and face sanctions.

Ballard said it’s “frustrating that GP practices that are working hard to reduce inappropriate antibiotics prescribing in order to prevent diseases becoming resistant to them face falling patient satisfaction ratings.

“Patients need to know that if we do not prescribe antibiotics, we are not being mean, we are acting in the best interests of their health,” Ballard added.