01 September 2016

New Tool Supporting Antibiotic Prescribing Could Be Highly Valuable for Our Young Patients, Says RCGP

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, has responded to a study in the Lancet on a new tool designed to support GPs and their teams when prescribing antibiotics for young patients with Respiratory Tract Infections.

She said: “GPs are working hard to reduce antibiotic prescribing with notable success – a reduction of 2.6m prescriptions by GPs last year alone – so a tool that can support GPs and other prescribers to identify when antibiotics are the appropriate course of treatment would be highly valuable.

“When prescribed appropriately antibiotics can be life-saving drugs, but they aren’t always the best course of treatment for minor conditions – including respiratory tract infections, which often don’t require antibiotics - and we need to work together to make the public realise this, in the best interests of their health and the worldwide population.

“Such a tool would also be very useful for GPs when explaining to patients, and their families, that antibiotics are not always the best course of treatment, as we often come under huge pressure to prescribe these drugs.

“But whilst this research is promising, such a test is not going to become widely available overnight and in the meantime we must all continue to work together – not just the healthcare sector – to do what we can to reduce growing global resistance to antibiotics, including making the public realise that antibiotics are not always the answer.

“It is particularly vital that we protect the safety of our young patients by ensuring that they don’t start building up a resistance to antibiotics early on in their life, so that antibiotics remain effective in the future when they might really need them.

“The RCGP has highlighted the challenge that we face through resistance to antibiotics and we have developed the TARGET antibiotics toolkit, with Public Health England, to support GPs in the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.”

Further Information

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


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 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.