Public Health England (PHE) has published new antimicrobial prescribing documents and online resources for healthcare professionals, to support the UK-wide Antibiotic Guardian campaign to improve and reduce antibiotic prescribing.
‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ was also recently relaunched by PHE across England, to support the government’s continued efforts to reduce inappropriate prescriptions for antibiotics.
Despite the risks of antibiotic resistance, research shows that 38% of people still expected an antibiotic from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre, or GP out-of-hours service when they visited with a cough, influenza, or a throat, ear, sinus, or chest infection in 2017.
New PHE data shows that antibiotic-resistant bloodstream infections rose by an estimated 35% between 2013 and 2017.
Primary care settings accounted for 81% of all antibiotics prescribed in 2017. However, the number of antibiotic prescriptions dispensed in primary care declined 13.2% in five years (2013 to 2017).
Between 2014/15 and 2017/18, there were more than 3.7 million fewer antibiotic prescriptions dispensed from community pharmacies.
Overall antibiotic consumption in secondary care in England increased by 7.7% between 2013 and 2017. Prescribing for hospital inpatients increased by only 2% but increased by 21% in hospital outpatient settings over the five-year period. This is an improvement compared to the period 2010 to 2013, when antibiotic prescribing to hospital inpatients increased by 11.9%.
In 2017, the most commonly used antibiotics in England continued to be penicillins (44.6%), tetracyclines (22.2%), and macrolides (14.7%).
European Antibiotic Awareness Day took place on 18 November.