Dr David Fluck
I’ve taken over the message for this week and would like to talk about a really important event happening over the next five days - World Antibiotic Awareness Week. This event is dedicated to increasing awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers, and policy makers, to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance- one of the biggest threats facing us today.
Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as the cornerstone of modern medicine. However, persistent overuse and misuse has encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, occurring when microbes such as bacteria, become resistant to the drugs used to treat them. Public Health England’s latest Surveillance report shows that there were an estimated 61,000 antibiotic resistant infections in England during 2018 - a 9% rise from 2017.
This year’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week campaign is the first of a new five-year UK National Action Plan for antimicrobial resistance, which aims to reduce inappropriate prescribing; as well as controlling and preventing infections. At ASPH, we are making a real effort to comply with this and have already introduced a number of measures including;
- Implementing a new antimicrobial prescribing policy to encourage best practice
- A hard 5 day stop on drug charts to prevent prolonged courses of antibiotics
- A 48-72 hour review on drug charts to ensure prescribers review antibiotics in line with the Department of Health Start Smart then Focus initiative
- Restricting the use of broad spectrum and high-risk antimicrobials
- Regular auditing to ensure compliance to formulary
- Education and training for doctors, nurses, pharmacists
- Weekly antimicrobial stewardship team ward rounds
- Infection control working closely with the wards to prevent spread of resistant bacteria
Some of the key messages for prescribers that we’d like to emphasise throughout this week are;
- Follow local antibiotic guidelines and consult with microbiology if using antibiotics outside of recommended guidance
- Only start antibiotic treatment if there is evidence of a bacterial infection, and do not treat colonisation.
- Collect specimen samples before starting antibiotic therapy, and check culture results once available
- Clearly document indication and duration on drug chart and in notes
- Review treatment every 48 hours
- Use oral route and narrow spectrum antibiotics where possible
I’d also encourage staff to sign up to become an Antibiotic Guardian - a great initiative led by Public Health England, to get as many people as possible to choose one simple pledge to help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete. The Pharmacy team will have a stand in the foyer of St Peter’s today and on Friday, and will have more information about this so please do drop by and see what you can do to help; the future of antibiotics depends on all of us.
Wishing you all a good week ahead.
With very best wishes,
Dr David Fluck