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College hits back at anti-GP media coverage on prescribing

Sections of today’s media are once again criticising GPs, this time for their prescribing skills. You can read the full College response below.

The College will continue to defend hardworking GPs against the current onslaught of criticism - and continue our calls on the four governments of the UK to invest properly in general practice and provide better support for GPs in delivering patient care

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and many of our nurse and pharmacist colleagues in primary care, and doing whatever we can to prescribe the most appropriate medicine for our patients, in an evidence-based way, is something we strive to do on a daily basis – and in the vast majority of cases, this review shows this is happening.

“With our growing and ageing population, with more patients living with multiple, chronic conditions, many people are taking several medications in order to manage their various health illnesses, and the interaction between various medicines is something prescribers will take into account. In most cases, these medicines are necessary, appropriate and of benefit for the patient – but the aspiration to reduce the number of medications a patient is taking, where safe and possible, is a good one.

“GPs will only ever prescribe medication to patients in conversation with them, and after a frank discussion about the risks and benefits of the treatment – and when alternative options have been explored. What GPs and other members of the practice team often need, however, is better access for their patients to alternative, non-pharmacological treatments, which can be patchy across the country.

“We welcome some of the recommendations in this report, particularly the commitment to provide further resources and training to support appropriate prescribing in primary care, and the development of clinical guidelines to support patient-centred care.”

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