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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
More inWhite Papers  

a RPS building imageSeptember 6 2017

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has announced a new campaign to raise awareness of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS).

 It wants all pharmacists “to play a greater role in the development of national and local action plans for AMS, building on examples of good practice around the country to ensure a robust evidence-based approach to the use of antibiotics.”

The campaign was launched on Sunday at the RPS annual conference, and is being led by the three national pharmacy boards.

A suite of resources is being made available for members on evidence and best practice, along with a new Quick Reference Guide on AMS for community pharmacists. This offers practical advice on action to take with patients to minimise antibiotic resistance. The Society will also be looking to work closely with its local networks on AMS in the coming months.

In addition, a new policy document sets out the Society’s “ambitions to see pharmacist leadership in AMS strengthened in order to contribute to wider efforts in meeting the challenge set by the UK Government of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50% by 2020.”

Among the recommendations made in the report are that:

  • pharmacists’ expertise should be maximised in the multidisciplinary team;
  • giving pharmacists more access to the patient record will enable informed clinical decisions;
  • there should be more commissioning of research into simple diagnostic testing.

Other resources including a literature review, AMS web portal and toolkit for local engagement will also be published over the coming months.

Philip Howard, a consultant antimicrobial pharmacist and RPS spokesperson on antibiotics said: “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats facing the planet, estimated to contribute to 700,000 deaths globally every year. The challenge is to coordinate action nationally as well as globally, and pharmacists across all sectors can play a vital role in terms of patient care as well as leading on action planning.”

Professor Ash Soni, President of the RPS, said that pharmacists comprise the third-largest health profession in the UK, and will be central to efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance. “All pharmacists have a role to play in AMS. I think there’s a perception that it is the solely the domain of hospital pharmacists but primary care and community colleagues also play an essential part in managing this huge challenge.

“Providing advice on self-care, how long infections can be expected to last and how to take antimicrobials as well as providing services such as flu vaccinations can make an enormous difference.”

Links:
RPS announcement         
RPS antimicrobial stewardship policy      
RPS antimicrobial stewardship ‘Quick reference guide’   

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