PHE calls for Antibiotic Guardian pledges
November 25 2015
Public Health England is urging health professionals and members of the public to pledge to become an antibiotic guardian.
It wants people to take action to help slow antibiotic resistance and to “choose one pledge about how they can personally prevent infections and make better use of antibiotics and help protect these vital medicines.”
It was giving publicity to the Antibiotic Guardian Programme as part of the activities around European Antibiotic Awareness Day and World Antibiotic Awareness Week. So far over 24,800 people had made the pledge.
“One of the main campaign messages is encouraging uptake of the flu jab in at-risk groups; getting vaccinated will reduce the likelihood of these people becoming ill, which could lead to antibiotics being requested inappropriately,” said PHE. “Other messages include reminding the public to seek health advice from community pharmacists and to always take prescribed medicines as directed; these are also vital as part of efforts to combat resistance.”
Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope, Pharmacist Lead for the Antimicrobial Resistance programme at PHE and lead for the Antibiotic Guardian campaign, said: By making just one pledge, whether that is not expecting an antibiotic for a self-limiting illness, taking up the offer of a free flu jab or ensuring the responsible use of all antibiotics, we can fight resistance together.”
PHE has also published its second annual report on the English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR). “Although the number of prescriptions issued has decreased, when measuring total antibiotic consumption in primary care, there has been an increase of 6.5% between 2011 and 2014, with 2.4% of the increase occurring between 2013 and 2014. This suggests that longer courses and/or higher doses of antibiotics are being prescribed in general practice,” said PHE.
In 2014, the majority of antibiotics in England were prescribed in general practice (74%), followed by prescribing for hospital inpatients (11%), hospital outpatients (7%), patients seen in dental practices (5%) and patients in other community settings (3%). Broad spectrum antibiotic prescribing has decreased in primary care to 8.5%, meaning England is the lowest prescriber of this category of antibiotic in the EU.
Health Education England has launched its latest e-learning programme on antimicrobial resistance. “The introductory level programme has been designed to support all health and social care staff – both clinical and non-clinical – in a variety of settings to understand the threats posed by antimicrobial resistance, and ways they can help to tackle this major health issue,” said HEE. The module which takes about 25 minutes to complete, was designed by Dr Ashiru-Oredope and is free to access.