Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the national ‘Keep antibiotics working campaign’ to highlight the risk associated with taking antibiotics when you don’t need them and are encouraging patients to listen to the medical advice from their doctor.
Taking antibiotics encourages bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, meaning the antibiotics may not work when you really need them to and can put your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness.
Professor Michael Moore, GP and researcher at Three Chequers Surgery in Salisbury said, “Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.
But they are also frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, colds and sore throats that can get better by themselves or by using over the counter medication that you can get from your pharmacy.”
Research has shown that GPs are experiencing enormous pressure from patients to prescribe them a course of antibiotics to show they are taking their health condition seriously. In Wiltshire 294,365 antibiotics tablets, capsules and bottles were prescribed during 2016 costing the NHS £1,314,230.
Professor Moore added, “Without urgent action, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become far riskier. Conditions like kidney infections and pneumonia have already started to become untreatable.”
It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.
Rachel Hobson, Formulary Pharmacist for Wiltshire CCG said “We are working closely with our GPs to help reduce inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics so that patients who need antibiotics are getting the right dose, at the right time, for the right condition.
We are asking for you to play your part by trusting your doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when you need to take antibiotics.”
If you are prescribed antibiotics, you should take them as instructed, finish the course, never save them for later use or share them with others.
For more information on keeping antibiotics working, visit the campaign page on our website: www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk