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Pushy patients leading GPs to prescribe antibiotics

19 August 2014

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GPs have admitted to prescribing antibiotics to get patients to leave their surgeries in a report published today. 

A survey of more than 1,000 GPs found that older doctors were more likely to prescribe antibiotics to patients, even when the drugs would have little to no effect. 

Many GPs (44%) said they had given out antibiotics to get patients who had repeatedly asked for them to leave. 

More than 25% of respondents said they had offered antibiotics to patients who did not need them “several times a week”. 

Most GPs (90%) said they felt under pressure to prescribe the drugs, according to a survey commissioned by the charity Nesta.

London-based GP Dr Rosemary Leonard said that it is hard to refuse antibiotic requests, especially when a parent wants them for their sick child. 

She told The Times: “If you don’t give the antibiotics they’ll just come back the next day to see another doctor. 

“The reality is we just do it to get the patients off our backs.” 

Earlier this year Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said that GPs have fuelled the spread of superbugs by heedlessly giving out antibiotics. 

She said: “There is evidence that some GPs are dishing out more than they need to for medical clinical disease. 

“We’ve clearly got it wrong, and I would argue that GPs do need more training. If we don’t take action, deaths will go up and up and modern medicine as we know it will be lost.”