Thérèse Coffey's alleged antibiotic habits seem seriously messed up

Thérèse Coffey's alleged antibiotic habits seem seriously messed up
Therese Coffey admits she is 'not aware' of ditching targets for affordable …
Sky News

Thérèse Coffey has come under fire from doctors after she reportedly admitted to sharing her prescription medicines with others.

The health secretary wants to make antibiotics more accessible and there are plans to allow pharmacists to prescribe antibiotics to patients who they believe need them, without a GP consultation.

Coffey has said "that she has previously handed out her own supplies of the medicines to friends and family who were feeling unwell," according to The Times.

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Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, deputy chair of GPC England at the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned against giving prescribed medication out to others.

"Sharing prescribed medications, particularly antibiotics, is not only potentially dangerous, but also against the law, and we would ask our Health Secretary to instead support us in encouraging good and safe prescribing practices," he said.

While the proposed plans have also prompted concern that making antibiotics easier to access will lead to people becoming more drug-resistant and cause patients to be persistently ill, ultimately adding more strain to the health service.

"Antibiotics are a precious resource and should be prescribed only when absolutely necessary," Dr Van Mellaerts explained on this matter.

"Overusing antibiotics risks making them less effective, and makes some infections increasingly difficult to treat, which can then actually increase pressure on the health service as patients remain unwell."

A number of medical professionals and scientists have taken to Twitter to voice similar criticisms about the "reckless" health secretary.

Others in the Twittersphere also agreed, with some added humour.

On the government's official website, advice posted back in 2015 on antimicrobial resistance reads: "Patients must ensure that they take their antibiotics as prescribed, and do not..." listing "not share with others," as one of the bullet points.

It was also noted by a doctor how doctors could be referred to the General Medical Council if they hand out antibiotics to family and friends.

A spokesman for Coffey told The Times: “The Secretary of State has explored a range of policy options to relieve pressure on GPs, including whether it is possible to allow greater prescribing by pharmacists – as happens in many places, including Scotland.

"These wide-ranging discussions included reflections on the importance of anti-microbial resistance and societal behaviours around antibiotics."

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