- 2 updates
Experts at Public Health England (PHE) and University College London have found that some practices were twice as likely to give a prescription for coughs and colds as those who dished out the fewest.
They examined data concerning patients registered with 537 UK GP practices and found that in 2011, the best performing practices were giving around 32% of patients antibiotics for coughs and colds compared to 65% in the worst performing GP surgeries.
The study, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, also found significant variation in the proportion of female patients aged 16 to 74 who were given one type of antibiotics for urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Experts have said that more must be done to curb unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics after a new study found that the number of patients dished out the drugs for minor ailments has soared in recent years. Researchers found that 36% of patients were handed antibiotics for coughs and colds in 1999 but by 2011 this figure had soared to 51%.
The new research, by experts at Public Health England (PHE) and University College London, also found there was "substantial variation" in prescribing among different GP surgeries. The revelations come despite Government guidance in 1998 warning GPs not to issue antibiotics for "simple" coughs and colds. Health experts from around the globe have recently warned of the ever-growing threat of antibiotic resistance - which has been fueled by unnecessary prescribing of the drugs.