Local NHS organisations are working together to help raise awareness of anti-microbial resistance by reminding colleagues, patients and their families that we all have a part to play in reducing the use of antibiotics.
Staff at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging people to become antibiotic guardians and help spread the message that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.
In the run up to World Antibiotic Week (18 to 22 November) Public Health England relaunched the ‘Keep Antibiotics Working ‘campaign in an effort to reduce unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics by raising awareness of the issue of antimicrobial resistance and reducing demand.
Emma Wilson, medicines management pharmacist at Mersey Care, said: “The rise and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is creating a new generation of ‘superbugs’ that can’t be treated with existing medicines.
“Routine operations and cancer chemotherapy can only go ahead if we have antibiotics that work available, so we need to make sure we are using the antibiotics we have available now, wisely and keep them working for us and our future generations.”
Liverpool CCG are also supporting this campaign and continue to work with the GPs to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions and ensure that only the patients who really need antibiotics are prescribed them.
Dr Fiona Ogden-Forde, a local GP and Governing Body Lead for Prescribing at Liverpool CCG, said: “We are running the campaign again as we want to help support our GPs and pharmacists to spread the word.
“As the cold weather starts, we see a rise in the number of people with cough and cold like symptoms. These are commonly caused by viral infections. Viral infections do not need antibiotics. We want to remind people that they can usually be self-managed, without seeing a doctor for prescribed medicines.
“Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria to become resistant, meaning they may not work when you really need them. We can all help to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics in the right way. Please listen to your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.”
Below are the top tips to prevent antibiotic resistance and use antibiotics effectively:
Please sign up and encourage family/friends and colleagues to be an antibiotic guardian at www.antibioticguardian.com where you have to make a pledge as to what you will do.
Pledges can be as simple as talking to the pharmacist about treating cold and respiratory symptoms or accepting an offer of the flu vaccination.
You can get self-care advice about how to treat lots of common minor winter conditions yourself at home by visiting the NHS symptom checker at www.nhs.uk/ or by visiting the Self Care Forum at http://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/