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Is it too easy to get hold of Antibiotics?

By December 02, 2017

Large number of pills and capsules

On our daily walk this week I noticed a poster at the bus stop about antibiotics and only taking them when needed, otherwise you're putting your family at risk. A few days later I saw an advert on TV promoting the same thing.

These adverts are part of the Government's 'Keep Antibiotics Working' campaign which was launched in October to tackle the growing resistance of antimicrobial. As part of the campaign the Government aims to reduce the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in the UK in half by 2020.

With that in mind you'd think doctors would think twice before dishing out antibiotics to patients, wouldn't you? However, in my recent experience this is not the case at all.

red and white capsule with red eyes

I'm prone to getting UTIs and this is where I've found doctors will prescribe antibiotics with very little investigation. A few weeks after my daughter was born, I went to see my GP regarding a possible UTI, she didn't take a sample, instead she took my word for it and prescribed me antibiotics immediately.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with another UTI at an out of hours clinic. The doctor prescribed me antibiotics for 3 days, but actually gave me 7 days worth of tablets. Roll on to this week and the symptoms of a UTI came back again. This time I had a phone consultation with my doctor who in less than 2 minutes prescribed me with 5 days' worth of antibiotics. Again, no test was done to confirm that my symptoms are indeed related to a UTI.

It does concern me how many times I've taken a course of antibiotics in the past 6 months, particularly now with this Government campaign that's been advertised everywhere. I trust that the doctors I'm seeing and speaking to are doing the right thing by prescribing me these tablets, but another part of me wonders whether it's quicker, easier and less hassle for them to go off what I say my symptoms are rather than hang around waiting for me to do a sample which they'll then have to test and so on when there's a waiting room full of people sill to be seen.

There was also a time a few years ago when I visited my GP on a Friday evening with possible tonsillitis. He said I didn't have it, but still prescribed me antibiotics and made me promise to only take them after the weekend if I was still feeling unwell. Surely, this isn't the way the NHS should be working! In the end I didn't need the antibiotics and I disposed of the prescription, but what if other patients weren't like me and took them just because they had them? In my opinion, working with GPs and local NHS trusts is definitely an area where the Government need to spend their time.

What's your experience of obtaining antibiotics? Does your GP prescribe them to you easily or do they suggest other medications first?

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  1. It’s so easy for me to get antibiotics.
    The first time I got a UTI, the doctor didn’t even do a sample. He just said, it’s a UTI and prescribed it.


    1. It does worry me how easily some of us can get hold of them. Thanks for commenting.