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CCG to provide every GP with blood testing kit to lower antibiotic prescribing

CCG to provide every GP with blood testing kit to lower antibiotic prescribing

Commissioners in Manchester are encouraging GPs to test patients' blood before prescribing antibiotics in an effort to decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance
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Commissioners in Manchester are encouraging GPs to test patients' blood before prescribing antibiotics in an effort to decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance.

Patients who go to the GP with a respiratory infection in NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG will be given a finger prick blood test to look assess levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

This follows the launch of a Public Health England campaign cautioning patients against pressuring their GP into prescribing antibiotics and a letter to GPs from England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies warning that resistance to antibiotics ‘is a very real threat that patients are facing today’.

Research in to the test, which can give results within minutes, has found that CRP testing can cut the number of antibiotic prescriptions by up to 10 million and save the NHS £56m a year.

The scheme in NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG was initially piloted across seven practices in the area over a year.

According to CCG board papers, the GPs involved in the pilot said that while the blood test took three minutes of consultation time, ‘the results were extremely useful to the GP and patient’ and it enabled GPs to provide ‘reassurance that refusal of a prescription was informed by best practice’.

The CCG is providing all practices with a CRP testing machine, test strips and lancets as well as training for ‘as many members of the practice as deemed to be required’.

Dr Keith Pearson, head of medicines optimisation at NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG, said the testing will help patients ensure that antibiotics ‘are prescribed for those patients who really need them’.

He added: ‘It’s estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections – 13 people every day. That’s why it’s so important for us to slow antibiotic resistance.’

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