Croydon parents forced to travel to other boroughs to get antibiotics

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

Croydon parents had to travel to other boroughs to get antibiotics for their children over the Christmas holidays due to shortages, a councillor has claimed.

In the past month, the demand for penicillin has risen as it is used to treat strep A and scarlet fever.

At a meeting on the One Croydon Health and Care Board on Wednesday, Councillor Yvette Hopley raised the issue of antibiotic shortages.

The cabinet member for health said: “I know on New Year’s Day there was a huge shortage of antibiotics and particularly for children in liquid form. People were going outside of Croydon to get them. I found it was quite concerning that people would have to go outside of the borough.”

Mike Sexton, chief financial officer at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which runs the local hospital said the “pressing issue” is national problem not unique to Croydon. 

Chief executive of the trust Matthew Kershaw reassured the meeting that measures were being taken to ensure supply in the borough.

He added: “Obviously the antibiotic issue, which was linked to the Strep A and the heavy prescribing of antibiotics, is a concern for parents . 

“Individual parents might not have found supply as easily accessible as they would have liked it to be.”

But director of public health at Croydon council, Rachel Flowers, warned against the dangers of antibiotics being relied on too much. 

She said: “What worries me if we carry on using antibiotics like we are in a couple of years they will not be effective. We do need to have an honest conversation, but it is a difficult conversation to have when people are panicking in relation to their child.”

On December 15, the government’s Department of Health issued “serious shortage protocols” for three penicillin medicines. This allows pharmacists to legally supply alternative medicine meaning they do not need to go back to their GP for a new prescription.

(Picture: rawpixel)

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