Pharmacists to Prescribe Antibiotics in the United Kingdom

Pharmacists to Prescribe Antibiotics in the United Kingdom

Felix Yim 17/10/2022
Pharmacists to Prescribe Antibiotics in the United Kingdom

Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey aims to introduce a Scottish-style scheme which would allow chemists to prescribe antibiotics.

Department for Health and Social Care claims that pharmacists prescribing antibiotics for UTI infections could save 400,000 GP appointments per year and around £8.4million, extrapolating from data from Scotland.

Concerns have been raised after it emerged patients could be able to get antibiotics from pharmacies without seeing a doctor. The proposals are designed to cut the need for GP appointments.

According to The Times, Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey has pushed to make antibiotics more freely available.

Ms Coffey has said that she has previously handed out her own supplies of antibiotics to friends and family who were feeling unwell.

Overuse of antibiotics causes bacteria to evolve resistance to commonly used antibiotics, resulting in common infections becoming deadlier due to lack of effective treatment.

Vital cancer treatments and surgeries may become too dangerous due to the higher risk of untreatable infections.

Doctors are urging people not to listen to health advice from the new Health Secretary.

Although Ms Coffey is not considering making antibiotics available over the counter, she is planning a Scottish-style scheme which would allow pharmacists to prescribe antibiotics, without the advice of a doctor, to patients they believe are suffering from certain conditions. However, pushing for easier availability of antibiotics has been criticised by some medical experts.

The Times reported that Stephen Baker, a professor of molecular microbiology at Cambridge University, said the more antibiotics were used, "the more likely we are to get drug-resistant organisms". He said it was "nuts" to talk about widening access to the medicine.

A spokesperson for Ms Coffey said: "The secretary of state has explored a range of policy options to relieve pressure on GPs, including whether it is possible to allow greater prescribing by pharmacists — as happens in many places, including Scotland."

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Felix Yim

Tech Expert

Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects. 

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