GWH works to protect the future of antibiotics

Posted: November 13, 2014

Playing our part in European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Antibiotic Awareness Day logoAn antibiotic team of doctors, pharmacists and nurses at the Great Western Hospital are on a mission to raise awareness of the major threat of antibiotic resistance as part of a European health initiative. 

Today (November 18) is European Antibiotic Awareness Day, an annual public health initiative to raise awareness about the threat to public health of antibiotic resistance and ask everyone to remember their responsibility in keeping antibiotics effective. 

Antibiotics are essential medicines for treating bacterial infections.

Antibiotic Guardian logoAntibiotic resistance is a process where bacteria can change over time and are no longer susceptible to the medicines used to treat them.

As resistance develops they gradually become less effective.

Eventually the antibiotics no longer work and alternatives must be found. 

Antibiotics teamGraham Brown, Senior Antibiotic Pharmacy Technician said: "Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem not just in the UK but across Europe, and the number of patients infected by resistant bacteria is rising.

Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate and there are very few new antibiotics being developed by the drug companies. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments would become dangerous.  Basic operations and treatment for cancers all rely on antibiotics that work." 

Antibiotic resistance is caused by the misuse of antibiotics, such as when they are used for colds and flu.  Most colds and flu are caused by viruses which antibiotics are not effective against, so taking antibiotics in these cases won't improve the infection.

The problem is also when antibiotics are used incorrectly, for example when the length of treatment is shortened or they are being taken once a day instead of twice a day.

This means there won't be enough antibiotic in the body and bacteria will survive, the infection may not go away and the bacteria could become resistant. 

Great Western Hospital is playing its part in trying to preserve antibiotics in a number of ways.

Pharmacy antibiotic technicians monitor and assess the use of antibiotics and how they are prescribed; ward pharmacists monitor the appropriateness of antibiotics for patients on wards. Antibiotic pharmacists are able to give specialist advice.

There are also strict antibiotic guidelines followed across all wards, detailing what antibiotics to use, how often and how to give the antibiotic for different infections.

Pictured above are (back, left) Graham Brown, Antibiotic Pharmacy Technician; (back, right) Krista Grimley, Outpatient Antibiotic Specialist Nurse; and (front) Sally Tipping, Lead Antibiotic Pharmacist.

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