Opinion Former Article

MRSA Action UK: Antibiotic resistance driven by the over-use of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing – save lives and help raise awareness on European Antibiotic Awareness Day

European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD), which takes place on 18 November 2012, raises public and professional awareness of the need for responsible prescribing to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance and is part of a national programme to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is driven by the over-use of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing. The number of infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing, but there is a lack of new antibiotics.  Educating the public and clinicians in the responsible use of antibiotics is of paramount importance to help control resistance.

EAAD is coordinated in England by the Department of Health and its Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (ARHAI), in partnership with professional bodies.

A number of professional bodies, including the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have already agreed to support EAAD this year.  The RCGP’s involvement is especially relevant as they have designated antimicrobial stewardship as one of their three clinical priorities for the next 3 years.  This is opportune as plans for EAAD 2012 aim to extend reach and focus to GPs with the launch of TARGET (Treat Antibiotics Responsibly; Guidance, Education, Tools), a toolkit on antimicrobial stewardship for primary care aimed at primary care prescribers and their patients to help them improve practice.

Promoting the responsible use of antibiotics is particularly important in primary care as 80-90% of antibiotics are prescribed within these settings and total use continues to increase.

This annual Europe-wide initiative takes place on the 18th November each year.  However, as this day falls on a Sunday this year, activities will be launched from Friday 16th November. As in previous years, the Department of Health are providing a range of educational materials to help implement local campaigns. These can be downloaded from the Department of Health website at http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/tag/eaad/

Short video clips are being shown by the Life Channel service in participating GP surgeries from Monday 5th November to Sunday 2nd December.

Derek Butler, Chair of the national charity MRSA Action UK, urges GPs in particular to promote the responsible use of antibiotics he says “MRSA is a very high profile superbug that has become resistant to a range of antibiotics, and paradoxically is why this charity exists”

“We continue to see people die from MRSA and conditions related to antimicrobial resistant superbugs, our families have been devastated by contracting these superbugs, and it affects all ages, we have seen children die from antibiotic resistant infections, and the importance of preserving these precious resources cannot be under estimated”

Derek Butler
MRSA Action UK
Telephone: 07761 741114
Email: derek.butler@mrsaactionuk.net

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