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New study to improve quality of antibiotic prescribing antibiotic out-of-hours

Published: 6 June 2018
New study to improve quality of antibiotic prescribingantibiotic out-of-hours

Researchers at the University of Southampton are to carry out a new study aimed at improving the prescribing of antibiotics out of hours.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in primary care is of increasing national and global concern due to the increasing risk of antimicrobial resistance (when bacteria become resistant to treatments). Most research in primary care has so far focused on GP prescribing during usual surgery hours. However, there is evidence that antibiotic prescribing is increasing out of hours. 

The new study, which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research, will nurses, pharmacists and paramedics, influence antibiotic prescribing in cases of common infections. The research will be used to optimise communication training to guide healthcare practitioners in best prescribing practices. 

Southampton researchers will lead the study in collaboration with academics from the University of Bristol, University College London and University of Oxford.

With the help of NHS patients and staff, the study aims to record 300 routine out of hours health care encounters, including telephone calls, primary care centre visits and home visits, in organisations serving over two million people across the South and West of England. 

Professor Geraldine Leydon from the University of Southampton said: “We are very excited to be working with out-of-hours service providers across the South and West of England to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing. In the UK, the NHS has invested in improvement through public health campaigns, clinical guidelines for treatment of common infections and local monitoring of numbers of antibiotics prescribed. This study takes a new approach in an under-researched setting and will make an important contribution in the drive to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing and tackle antimicrobial resistance.”

The work builds on previous research including the UNITE study which identified key barriers and enablers to optimal prescribing out of hours. 


Related Staff Member

Notes for editors

This study involves an exciting collaboration with the following colleagues: 

Dr Catherine Woods, University of Southampton 
Dr Fiona Stevenson, University College London 
Dr Gail Hayward, Oxford University
Dr Mathew Booker, Bristol University 
Dr Beth Stuart, University of Southampton
Dr Karen Postle, PPI
Prof. Michael Moore, University of Southampton
Prof. Paul Little, University of Southampton
Prof. Sue Latter, University of Southampton
Together with two organisations providing OOH services. 



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