A new report details the most effective and efficient ways to implement point of care (POC) C-reactive protein (CRP) testing to reduce antibiotic prescriptions and to save the NHS millions.

A multidisciplinary panel of leading experts have called for an effective and efficient means to implement point of care (POC) C-reactive protein (CRP) testing in the NHS. This call to action was encompassed in the ‘Straight to the Point – Ensuring the Rational Use of Antibiotics in Primary Care A Consensus Report’, which makes suggestions on how testing will help the NHS meet the challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Today’s report concludes that POC CRP testing can reduce antibiotic prescriptions by up to 10 million each year, saving the NHS £56 million a year in prescription and dispensing costs alone. These conclusions were formulated from previous research which revealed that POC CRP testing can reduce antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infection (RTI) in primary care by up to 41.5%.

Despite the findings that POC CRP testing reduces inappropriate and unnecessary antibiotic prescribing in primary care, an important driver of AMR and that POC CRP testing is widely used within a variety of European Countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands who have lower rates of antibiotic usage than the UK, the UK continues to limit its use of the testing method.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said:

“The Patients Association welcomes these new findings. POC CRP testing is a cost effective method which reduces the level of antibiotic prescribing. The report from these findings will provide clinicians with additional diagnostic information to help them make crucial antibiotic prescribing decisions, especially where there are high levels of diagnostic and prognostic doubt. The Patients Association will continue to support the implementing of this testing method, a treatment process which can save the NHS £56 million a year, reduce the number of antibiotic prescriptions by up to 10 million each year and enhance patient safety can only be a positive step for our NHS.”

From: Experts call for greater access to test that could save the NHS millions

Ensuring the rational use of antibiotics in primary care using c-reactive protein testing: a consensus report

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