Trust works to protect the future of antibiotics

Posted: November 17, 2015

Staff mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Doctors, pharmacists and nurses across Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are on a mission to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance on European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Wednesday 18 November.

The day is an annual public health initiative that urges everyone to take action in helping to ensure our antibiotics work now and in the future.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today. Antibiotics treat infections by killing bacteria, but the bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive. This means our antibiotics are becoming less effective and brings a new danger to even routine treatments.

Staff across the Trust are playing their 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 and 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.

Graham Brown, Senior Antibiotic Pharmacy Technician said: "The main reason antibiotics are losing their effectiveness is that we take medicines we don't need. Most coughs or colds are caused by viruses which antibiotics are not effective against.

"Another problem is when we don't take antibiotics exactly as they are prescribed, such as missing doses or finishing treatment early because we feel better. This means there won't be enough antibiotics in the body and bacteria will survive, so the infection may not go away and the bacteria could become resistant."

Raising awareness of antibiotic resistance is closely linked to this year's Stay Well This Winter campaign, which gives the public advice on how to look after themselves during the colder months. The key messages of the campaign are to get your flu jab so you are less likely to get ill, seek health advice from your pharmacist and to always take medicines as prescribed.

What you can do

  • Follow the doctor's advice when taking antibiotics
  • Make sure you finish your antibiotics even if you feel better
  • Don't use leftovers or antibiotics obtained without a prescription.

Public Health England's Antibiotic Guardian Campaign was set up to protect antibiotics, and is asking everyone in the UK  to become Antibiotic Guardians. The antibiotic team at GWH are encouraging everyone to take the time to make a pledge and help antibiotics last longer.

Visit www.antibioticguardian.com for more information and to pledge your support.

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