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Project #142:
The impact of COVID-19 on prescribing of antimicrobials

  • Type: Service evaluation and Audit
  • Topic areas: Other/indirect impacts of COVID on health/healthcare

Using antimicrobial medicines carefully and only when needed, also known as antimicrobial stewardship, is an important step to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance and a key national priority.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on antibiotic prescribing. For example using openly available medicines data we have previously found (see blog https://www.bennett.ox.ac.uk/blog/2020/05/impact-of-covid-19-on-prescribing-in-english-general-practice-march-2020/) that substantially more prescriptions were issued for antibiotics used to treat respiratory conditions while prescribing for antibiotics for conditions like urinary tract infections decreased.

We would like to use OpenSAFELY-Interactive to describe trends and variation in specific clinical conditions (e.g. COPD) and different patient demographic groups (e.g. children/those resident in a care home). General practice gives out the majority of antibiotics in England so we will focus on prescribing in primary care and our expected outputs will be charts, blogs and academic paper describing our findings.