23 October 2017

Antibiotics Must Not Be a 'Catch All' For Every Illness, Says RCGP as it Supports New Public Awareness Campaign to Reduce Society's 'Dependency'

Antibiotics must not be a 'catch all' for every illness, says RCGP as it supports new public awareness campaign to reduce society's 'dependency'

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Antibiotics are highly-effective drugs when used appropriately, but we have become too dependent on them as a society – and if we don’t tackle this, it will have a terrible impact on patients' health globally.

"GPs are doing an excellent job at reducing antibiotics prescriptions, but we still come under considerable pressure from patients to prescribe them. We need to get to a stage where antibiotics are not seen as a 'catch all' for every illness – and patients need to understand that if their doctor does not prescribe antibiotics, it is because they genuinely believe that they are not the most appropriate treatment.

"When diseases become resistant to multiple antibiotics we face the prospect of no cure as there are no alternative drugs available. If the situation gets worse, relatively minor conditions or routine operations could become high-risk if serious infections cannot be treated.

"We also need to see much more research and investment ploughed into developing new antibiotics in order to tackle emerging infections – but this will certainly not be a quick-fix solution.

"The College has worked with Public Health England to develop the TARGET antibiotics toolkit, to support GPs and other prescribers in the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics, in the best interests of our patients now, and in the future."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.