Patient safety alert – Inappropriate use of antibiotics is putting our lives at risk

Antimicrobial resistance poses ‘catastrophic threat‘, says Chief Medical Officer

Whether or not you become a nurse prescriber in the future, it is important that you are fully aware of the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the biggest reason for which is the inappropriate use of antibiotics (antimicrobials). It is becoming increasingly difficult to treat infections that were routinely treated in the past and it is a scary prospect that if the problem is not immediately addressed we could routinely see deaths from minor surgery within 20 years if new antibiotics are not discovered, according to England’s Chief Medical Officer.

NHS England, Health Education England and Public Health England have issued a joint National Patient Safety Alert  to all providers of NHS care in England (including you!) to highlight the challenges of AMR and the need for what they are calling ‘antimicrobial stewardship‘. See the two treatment algorithms below which indicate what is meant by antimicrobial stewardship.

Antimicrobial Stewardship – Treatment Algorithm. From ‘Start Smart – Then Focus’, by Public Health England, page 7

Antimicrobial Stewardship - Surgical prophylaxis algorithm from 'Start Smart - Then Focus' by Public Health England, page 8

Antimicrobial Stewardship – Surgical prophylaxis algorithm from ‘Start Smart – Then Focus’ by Public Health England, page 8

Another toolkit you might find useful is TARGET (Treat Antibiotics Responsibly, Guidance, Education, Tools) which includes an e-learning module. All NHS health professionals, and patients, have a responsibility to to work together to be successful in reducing AMR. As Dr Mike Durkin, NHS England Director of Patient Safety said, “…we all have a role to play in preventing what could have a catastrophic effect on healthcare as we know it if we fail to recognise our individual and collective responsibility to manage appropriate antimicrobial stewardship”. Start playing your part in this stewardship today!

 

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2 thoughts on “Patient safety alert – Inappropriate use of antibiotics is putting our lives at risk

  1. Pingback: It’s World Antibiotic Week. What can you do to decrease overuse of antibiotics? | Florence Nightingale and the Machine

  2. Pingback: Antibiotic Resistance: Urban Myth or Zombie Apocalypse? Find out at Cafe Scientifique Bournemouth! | Florence Nightingale and the Machine

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