Antibiotic Resistance: Urban Myth or Zombie Apocalypse?
by Dr Liz Sheridan, microbiologist, Poole Hospital
Tuesday 1st November 2016, Cafe Boscanova
Everyone, in particular healthcare professionals but also the wider public, needs to know about antibiotic (or antimicrobial) resistance. What better way to find out about it than from a medical expert while enjoying the comforts of Cafe Boscanova?!
I’ve written before about antimicrobial resistance – it’s one of the biggest challenges that we face in the 21st century, see below:
Inappropriate use of antibiotics is putting our lives at risk
What can you do to decrease overuse of antibiotics?
And find out more about Care Scientfique here. Hope to see you there!
World Antibiotics Week: 16-22 November 2015
Why have a World Antibiotics Week? Well, put simply, as highlighted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today. WHO is leading a global campaign ‘Antibiotics: Handle with Care‘ calling on individuals, governments, health and argiculture professionals to take action to address this urgent problem. What could you do?
First of all, as a (future) healthcare professional you need to be aware of the dangers of antibiotic resistance and be able to help your patients when they ask your advice as regards the use of antibiotics. Check out an excellent blog from Evidently Cochrane that suggests that shared decision making between doctors and patients is one way that unneccessary antibiotic prescribing might be achieved. Secondly, as a potential patient yourself seeking treatment in future, be prepared that in some instances not prescribing antibiotics may be the best option.
For more information and to learn more about how you can support the Antibiotics: Handle with Care campaign click here. Also, see my related blogpost on antimicrobial resistance.
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
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!