GPs convinced to prescribe less antibiotics

GPs convinced to prescribe less antibiotics

An Australian pilot scheme to get doctors to stop prescribing so many antibiotics appears to be a success.

More than 100 GPs across Queensland were given a "package of intervention measures", including web-based training, educational posters, pamphlets and a finger-prick test.

They were also asked to give borderline patients a prescription as they normally would, but ask them not to collect the medicine unless symptoms worsened within 48 hours.

The University of Queensland study found GPs who received the toolkit ended up prescribing 7 percent less antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern, with many GPs prescribing the medicine when it's not required -- for minor ailments for example, or viral infections which antibiotics have no effect on.

"In order to preserve one of medicine's most important resources, GPs must be equipped to only prescribe antibiotics where appropriate," says researcher Professor Charles Gilks.

"We would like to see the intervention program rolled out across Australia."