6 July 2016

Nursery School Policies Should be in Line with Clinical Guidance, Says College

Responding to research published in the British Journal of General Practice today, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: 

“We understand the concerns that childcare providers have in admitting children with acute infective conjunctivitis (AIC), as they don’t want to put other children in their care at risk. But policies to exclude children with AIC are not in line with official clinical guidelines, and this has a number of serious implications for patients, their families and wider society.

“It’s concerning that nearly half of the childcare providers studied require children with AIC to have a prescription for antibiotics. This simply puts pressure on GPs to prescribe these drugs when they might not be necessary or appropriate.

“These policies will also inevitably lead to unnecessary consultations at a time when GPs are under considerable workforce and resource pressures.

“Antibiotics are excellent and life-saving drugs when prescribed appropriately but growing resistance to them will have severe consequences for the health of our population globally. In response, GPs and other prescribers have been working incredibly hard to reduce antibiotics prescribing, with notable success.

“But we all have a responsibility to curb this dangerous trend, and that includes revising any policies – in and out of the health sector - that encourage antibiotics prescribing, when it is not appropriate.

“We would encourage closer working between health bodies, such as Public Health England and NICE, and childcare providers to develop more joined up policies, based in evidence, in the best interests of both individual patients and society at large.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
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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.