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‘Irresponsible’: Alarm over Coffey’s ‘plans to let patients get antibiotics without seeing GP’

Doctors have criticised new health secretary Therese Coffey over reports that pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe antibiotics without the approval of a doctor.

According to The Times, Ms Coffey’s “Plan for Patients” will give pharmacists the power to prescribe certain drugs, such as contraception, without a prescription in an effort to reduce the need for GP appointments and tackle waiting lists.

Responding to reports of the plans, Rachel Clarke, an NHS palliative care doctor and writer, wrote on Twitter: “This is staggeringly irresponsible of Therese Coffey and will cause so much more harm than good.

“Doctors do not – unlike Coffey – dish out spare antibiotics to our family and friends because we’re painfully aware of the harms of antibiotic resistance. Utter recklessness.”

Stephen Baker, a professor at Cambridge University and an expert in molecular microbiology and antimicrobial resistance, branded the health secretary’s plans “moronic”.

He told the newspaper that the more antibiotics were used “the more likely we are to get drug-resistant organisms”.

He added that it was “nuts” to consider widening access to drugs, adding that resistance against antibiotics is “clearly one of the biggest problems humanity is facing in respect of infectious disease at the moment”.

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Source: The Independent, 17 October 2022


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