Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

July NICE Guidance

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence has published new guidance for the month of July.

There are two new Clinical Guidelines that impact on primary care. Respiratory tract infections – antibiotic prescribing (PDF) covers treatment of upper respiratory tract infections including otitis media, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, common cold, sinusitis and cough. The guideline discusses three treatment strategies for no, delayed or immediate prescription of antibiotics.

The second guideline (PDF) covers diagnosis and initial management of acute stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA). It recommends using the Face Arm Speech Test (FAST) to screen patients with sudden onset of neurological symptoms for stroke and TIA to allow appropriate onward referral to emergency care.

  • Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Test all three symptoms

Action: Primary care clinicians should be aware of these new guidelines. The respiratory tract infection contains some useful information that will help reduce antibiotic prescribing and the stroke guideline recommends a useful tool for screening patients who experience a sudden onset of neurological symptoms.

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