Better antibiotic awareness results in decrease of prescriptions
27 February 2019

The number of antibiotics being prescribed in the Portsmouth and south east Hampshire area is falling thanks to better awareness about when to use them.

From November 2016 to October 2017, 132,168 antibiotic prescriptions were issued by GPs in Portsmouth, but from November 2017 to October 2018, this fell to 123,376.

For Fareham and Gosport prescribing fell from 110,949 to 105,078, and in south east Hampshire from 114,046 to 112,257.

This fall suggests that we are all gaining a better understanding of when antibiotics should – and shouldn’t - be prescribed.

There has been a national drive to reduce our antibiotic use, as bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics are becoming more common. 

Dr Alastair Bateman, GP and prescribing lead for NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Antibiotics are essential to medical treatment and help treat bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

“Common infections such as colds, flu, most sore throats, coughs and some ear infections are inconvenient, but they are often due to viruses – put simply, antibiotics are of no use in treating viral illnesses. A pharmacist can suggest things you can do yourself to help with symptomatic relief and provide useful advice.

“We want to keep antibiotics working so that they are effective when they are needed to treat serious bacterial infection such as pneumonia and meningitis, and we also need them to prevent and treat infections during chemotherapy and certain surgeries.”

You can help to keep antibiotics working effectively by:

  • Making sure you take antibiotics for the correct number of days – don’t stop even if you’re feeling better
  • Taking doses at the right time and taking into account some antibiotics are affected by food, drink and other medication

Simon Cooper, deputy director for medicines optimisation for NHS Portsmouth CCG, said: “Remember if you’re unsure you can always see a pharmacist who will be able to help you with any questions.

“If the person you to speak to for health advice says you don’t need antibiotics, then trust their advice about what is the best treatment for you.

“Return any unused antibiotics to a pharmacy – don’t keep them and be tempted to reuse them if you have similar symptoms again. It’s important to get diagnosed again as each antibiotic only works for certain types of bacteria and not all.”

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