NHS England launches national programme to combat antibiotic overusage

NHS England has launched the world’s largest healthcare incentive scheme for hospitals, family doctors and other health service providers to prevent the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The new programme, which goes live in April 2016, will offer hospitals incentive funding worth up to £150 million to support expert pharmacists and clinicians review and reduce inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics.

Clinical commissioning groups are being supported to reduce the number of antibiotics prescribed in primary care by 4%, or to the average performance levels of 2013/14. Hospital trusts will also receive payments for gathering and sharing evidence of antibiotic consumption and review within 72 hours of the beginning of treatment. Information will be available for commissioners to review on a dedicated website and will allow them to directly monitor progress. Further payments will be made for reducing the use of specific types of drug which are used to treat a wide range of bacteria. These so-called ‘broad spectrum’ antibiotics need to be reserved to treat resistant disease and should generally be used only when standard antibiotics are ineffective.

NHS England, 10th March 2016