Antibiotic Resistance Rise Continues

James Gallagher | BBC News | October 9, 2014

Antibiotic prescriptions and cases of resistant bacteria in England have continued to soar despite dire warnings and campaigns, figures show.

Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, said: "We know that less than 1% of bacteria are extremely multi-drug resistant at the moment, that means resistant to pretty much all the antibiotics we have available to us.  "But in countries like India they are approaching 10% to 20% of individuals they are not able to treat effectively with the antibiotics."  She said England could be heading that way if antibiotics were not used more intelligently.

She argued that giving prescriptions, which could be used only if symptoms became worse in several days' time, would reduce antibiotic use.  And she called for doctors in hospitals to review whether patients needed to stay on antibiotics every day.

Prof Laura Piddock, from the group Antibiotic Action, told the BBC: "It is disappointing that antibiotic use and resistance is still increasing, but it's not surprising.  "We have to make it easier for doctors to use antibiotics more wisely when the pressures in the NHS are great and it is really hard for doctors to take on every single guideline."  In the very last year of the study the number of GP prescriptions did start to fall. However, there is concern this is just moving prescribing to other areas of the health service...