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Major change to how GPs give out prescriptions amid antibiotics ‘shortage’

DOCTORS may revert back to pen and paper prescriptions to help people get hold of scarce Strep A antibiotics.

This comes as pharmacists are reporting UK-wide shortages of the life-saving medication, despite the Government insisting it is “not aware” of a problem.

Handing out old fashioned paper prescriptions could make it easier
The bug has claimed the lives of 15 children over the last few weeks

Handing out old fashioned paper prescriptions will give people the option to shop around different pharmacies for the antibiotics, local NHS leaders have said.

Prescriptions have been dished out digitally since 2019 as part of a wider effort to save the NHS money.

But digital prescriptions from the GPs can only be sent to one ‘nominated’ pharmacy, meaning if the chosen pharmacy doesn’t have the prescribed medicine the patient is forced to return to surgery.

In an email, seen by GP magazine Pulse, NHS leaders in Mid and South Essex encouraged doctors to ditch digital prescriptions in favour of paper – which is easier to take to different pharmacies.

They also told doctors to start advising patients to shop around and try several pharmacies to find medicines.

Supplies of two first line treatments: phenoxymethylpenicillin, or penicillin V and amoxicillin are patchy across the country, according to pharmacists.

Some pharmacists are also finding it impossible to get hold of clarithromycin, which is used for children and adults with a penicillin allergy; and azithromycin, another treatment for the bug.

It comes as GPs have been told to lower the threshold for prescribing antibiotics to kids presenting with symptoms of group A streptococcal infections.

This means demand for the drugs has gone “through the roof”, experts have said.

Strep A can cause many health issues, most of which are mild and can be treated with antibiotics.

In very rare cases, the bug can develop into invasive group A Strep, which so far has claimed the lives of 15 children over the last few weeks.

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