A recent study by the Greater Manchester Connected Health City (GM CHC) has shown that GP practices in certain areas within England prescribe more antibiotics per patient than in others. The investigation, based on GP data from 7216 practices, found local ‘hot spots’ were particularly prevalent in northern and disadvantaged regions.
Antimicrobial resistance is a serious public health concern.
Bacteria have been found to develop immunity to antibiotics thus reducing the effectiveness of vital medicine and creating potential risk for patients in the future.
Published in the international Health & Place journal, this study analysed antibiotic prescribing rates in GP practices to understand prescribing when mapped geographically and linked to other data including notably high and low prescription rates, whilst examining the levels of deprivation amongst these patient groups. With this in mind, researchers hoped to identify regions that could potentially benefit from future interventions to tackle overprescribing.
By analysing prescription data from different regions, the team found that patient catchments that were considered ‘hot spots’ for antibiotic prescription were also typically more deprived than their ‘cold spot’ counterparts, specifically when factors such as income, employment, education, crime and health were taken into account.
The research revealed that specific area level strategies could therefore prove to be more effective in combatting overprescribing than overarching, national strategies. For example, areas with widespread educational deprivation would benefit most from behavioural change interventions to highlight the risks of antimicrobial resistance.
In order to effectively tackle the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance, we need strategies that deal with the specific local challenges including differences in patient demand, workloads of general practices and educational deprivation.
– Professor Tjeerd Van Staa
The full research paper, written by Anna Mölter, Miguel Belmonte, Victoria Palin, Chirag Mistry, Matthew Sperrin, Andrew White, William Welfare and Tjeerd Van Staa, is available in Health & Place Volume 53.
Further information about the GM CHC BRIT Antibiotic resistance project is available on the project webpage.
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