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Community prescribing of antibiotics increases

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The number of community prescriptions for antibiotics has risen by 32 per cent according to a report by PHE.

The English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR) found that between 2010 and 2013 there was a six per cent increase in the combined antibiotic prescribing of GPs and hospitals. It has warned that nearly half of these may have been inappropriate.

Community prescriptions are defined as non-GP prescribed, which includes nurse prescribers.

The increase in antibiotic prescriptions has been linked to the increase in antibiotic resistance.

The report has found that the majority of antibiotic prescribing takes place in the community. The rise in community prescriptions has caused concerns and will need to be further examined according to PHE.

The proportion of resistant infections remains the same as that in previous years, but the total number of infections has increased, which means that the total number of resistant infections has also risen.

The report also breaks down regional variances in prescribing.

In 2013 the largest antibiotic group prescribed by this group were the penicillins at 75 per cent.

Professor John Watson, deputy chief medical officer at the Department of Health, said: 'Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to health security facing the world today and everybody must take action. We want to support all doctors and other prescribers in reducing their prescribing rates where possible. These data will play an important part in highlighting regional variations in prescribing.'

Previous studies and a survey by Independent Nurse has revealed that many nurses believe that increasing prescribing duties for nurses would help to increase the efficiency of general practice.

PHE has also launched an Antibiotic Guardian website where healthcare professionals can make pledges on how they will make better use of antibiotics.

European Antibiotic Awareness day is on 18 November.

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