14 October 2014

RCGP Response to Public Health England Report on Antibiotics

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has responded to the first annual report of PHE’s English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR), published today

Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is clear that GPs and other healthcare professionals have further to go in promoting efforts to reduce our population’s resistance to antibiotics.

“Other countries have shown that it is possible to reduce prescribing rates and this is something that we need to work on with health professionals across the NHS and our patients.

“It is important to remember that antibiotics are effective drugs when used appropriately and they can be used to treat a wide range of medical conditions. But GPs face enormous pressure to prescribe antibiotics, even for minor symptoms which will get better on their own or can be treated effectively with other forms of medication.

"It is not surprising that there is regional variation in antibiotics prescribing - this could be due to a number of demographic factors, for example, the age of a local population and the susceptibility to infection as well as the prevalence of long term conditions, such as respiratory illness.

"The RCGP has highlighted the challenge that we face through resistance to antibiotics and will continue to work with partner organisations such as Public Health England to raise awareness of this. 

"The TARGET antibiotics toolkit is an example of how we can support clinicians and commissioners in the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics. We are also supporting the European Antibiotics Awareness Day campaign and encourage GPs and their patients to sign up to be an antibiotics guardian.

"Given the importance of antimicrobial stewardship, the RCGP has appointed Professor Michael Moore - a member of the ESPAUR group who produced this report - as national clinical champion for antimicrobial stewardship, to represent the colleges views on this issue."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
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.