GPs in Lincolnshire are being offered incentives worth up to £2 per head of practice population to cut antibiotic prescribing and increase use of generic drugs.

NHS Lincolnshire launched the five tiered rewards scheme last month. Practices will be paid for meeting or beating their current average level of prescribing for generic versions of statins, proton pump inhibitors and bisphosphonates, and also for the percentage of ACE inhibitors they prescribe versus more costly drugs of a similar type. They will be paid 25p per head of the practice population for meeting three of the criteria by April 2010 and a further 25p for meeting all four. Another 50p will reward beating the national or county average in three of the four indicators plus reducing antibiotic prescribing.

A further 50p is available for beating the national average on all five indicators and another 50p for best performers across the five indicators.

NHS Lincolnshire head of prescribing Steve Gibson said: “Lincolnshire is a high prescribing area in relation to antibiotic volume.”

Local pressure from microbiologists about rising healthcare acquired infections influenced the decision, he added.