GPs can make a difference during antibiotic awareness week

12 November 2012

GPs play an important role in preserving antibiotics in the Australian community, and can help make a difference across the entire continuum of care from primary care to hospitals and aged care facilities.

During global Antibiotic Awareness Week – 12-18 November 2012 – NPS MedicineWise is encouraging GPs to become antibiotic resistance fighters and review their prescribing of antibiotics in respiratory tract infections by participating in the first NPS online Clinical e-Audit, Management of specific respiratory tract infections.

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says there is a strong link between antibiotic prescribing practices in primary care and the rate of antibiotic resistance. With around 19 million prescriptions written every year, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the developed world, contributing significantly to the global threat of antibiotic resistance.

“This new, simple online audit allows GPs to reflect on their management of some common respiratory tract infections and review their use of antibiotics in these contexts,” says Dr Binns.

“It also addresses symptomatic management options for these conditions, assists GPs to explore patient beliefs and expectations around antibiotics use and to tailor their communication strategies accordingly.”

“By participating in this learning activity GPs will gain confidence in judicious prescribing of antibiotics when indicated in specific respiratory tract infections and be able to better address the issue of antibiotic resistance with their patients, by having targeted conversations about the appropriate use and misuse of antibiotics.”

A recent survey of 1019 Australians nationwide* revealed that 76% of people expect to be given an antibiotic by their GP when they have an ear, nose, throat or chest infection, and 51% of people would ask their GP for a prescription for antibiotics if they had such an infection.

“If an antibiotic is not indicated for a patient, GPs need to feel confident to explain why a prescription is not appropriate and then discuss the issue of antibiotic overuse and misuse leading to antibiotic resistance,” says Dr Binns.

“Patient education is essential in contributing to the fight against antibiotic resistance.”

Management of specific respiratory tract infections is the first online NPS audit for GPs and forms part of a suite of learning activities and resources for health professionals on antibiotic resistance in respiratory tract infections. All activities are part of a five year NPS campaign addressing antibiotic resistance in Australia.

“The online audit offers the flexibility and individualised learning that GPs have come to expect from their online learning activities,” says Dr Binns.

The activity is approved by the RACGP Quality Improvement & Continuing Professional Development Program for 40 (category 1) points and the ACRRM Professional Development Program for 30 PRPD points. It is also recognised for the Quality Prescribing Initiative of the Practice Incentives Program (May 2012 to April 2013).

For access to the Clinical e-Audit and other NPS resources and activities on antibiotics resistance and respiratory tract infections, visit

* Survey of 1,019 people (16 years and over) by Research Now for NPS, June 2012. Full survey results available upon request.


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Media enquiries: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667, 0419 618 365 or or Erin Jardine on (02) 8217 8733 or