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.