Media comment: general practice overstretch and antibiotic shortages hinder strep A fight

  • Media comment

Dr Drage calls for transparency and collaboration between Government, GPs and councils as capacity and antibiotic shortages hit efforts to contain strep A.

“Ministers, NHS and UKHSA must work with general practice and Local Government in an integrated, open and effective way when responding to the rise in cases of strep A.

“It is not helpful to tell the public that GPs are ready to meet increased demand for appointments and that there is no shortage of antibiotics, at a time when practices are already working beyond capacity and pharmacists are telling us they’ve run out of stock.”

– Dr Michelle Drage, CEO, Londonwide LMCs

From GPs on the ground:

  • GP in North Central London: “None of the pharmacies in the borough have any stock of liquid penicillin V, amoxicillin or azithromycin. Our pharmacy has some penicillin V tablets. A pharmacist who works for one of the big national chains told us they’re not expecting any more penicillin V or amoxicillin liquid for another two weeks. We need better advice on when to give or not give antibiotics than ‘just lower the threshold’ given the severity of the shortages.”
  • GP in South East London: “My practice seen a big rise in queries from concerned parents of children with sore throats. All formulations of penicillin are completely depleted in most pharmacies in our local area, although amoxicillin is still available at the moment.”
  • GP in North East London: “There is no penicillin V in our borough, as of Tuesday morning we were told there is no amoxicillin suspension 125mg/5mls and that they were running very low on 250mg/5mls.”
  • GP in North West London: “Every type of penicillin and amoxicillin on the pharmacist’s stock system has a red ‘out of stock’ mark next to it.”

Note: penicillin V is a brand name for phenoxymethylpenicillin, for some readers it may be clearer to simply refer to “penicillin”.