Improving antibiotic stewardship is a priority for Public Health England due to the continuing threat of antimicrobial resistance. The Chief Medical Officer for England is sending her annual feedback letter on antibiotic prescribing rates to GPs in April 2017.
The feedback letters are being sent to over 6,300 individual GPs in over 1,400 different GP practices with high antibiotic prescribing rates. Practices were selected based on their level of prescribing per STAR-PU and in comparison with the England average used by the Quality Premium. The letters are tailored according to GP practice prescribing rate, change in prescribing over time, and whether they were previously sent feedback. While many GPs are already reducing their usage of antibiotics, the letters are intended to support GPs to reduce their prescribing further by providing feedback on practice prescribing rates, offering encouragement and suggesting practical actions in a clear and succinct manner.
It is vital where valproate is prescribed to girls and women of childbearing potential that they are made aware of the risks of taking the medication in pregnancy. The need for effective contraception planning must also be emphasised, along with the requirement for specialist oversight to safely change their medication if planning a pregnancy. MHRA have updated its valproate toolkit, providing a range of resources to support providers, staff and patients in the safe use of valproate. This alert asks all providers to undertake systematic identification of girls and women who are taking valproate, and to ensure the MHRA resources are used to support them to make informed choices.
Public Health England have launched a new online system to report illicit drug reaction, to improve knowledge of the harmful effects of new psychoactive substances.
The ban on these new substances has been successful in reducing their easy availability but there are still many new ones circulating. The chemical content of these substances frequently changes and their effects can be dangerous and unpredictable. That is why they are so risky. This information – reported directly and easily onto the system by those at the frontline dealing with the casualties – will help shed more light on both the immediate and longer term harms of these new drugs.