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New bid to change public view on antibiotics

Wednesday October 24th, 2018

A new campaign has been launched to try to change public understanding of antibiotics amid concern that the drugs could soon lose effectiveness.

The Public Health England campaign follows the launch of a damning Parliamentary report earlier this week calling for action to support the development of new antibiotics.

Surveys have found that more than a third of people expect an antibiotic prescription if they visit the GP or other primary care services for illnesses such as flu and throat infections.

Chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies warned that three million common annual surgical procedures, including Caesarean sections, could become life-threatening if antibiotics cease to be effective.

She said: “The evidence is clear that without swift action to reduce infections, we are at risk of putting medicine back in the dark ages – to an age where common procedures we take for granted could become too dangerous to perform, and treatable conditions become life-threatening.

“The UK has made great efforts in recent years to reduce prescribing rates of antibiotics, however, there continues to be a real need to preserve the drugs we have so that they remain effective for those who really need them and prevent infections emerging in the first place.”

Royal College of GPs chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “GPs are already doing an excellent job at reducing antibiotics prescriptions, but we often come under considerable pressure from patients to prescribe them.

“We need to get to a stage where antibiotics are not seen as a catch all for every illness or a just in case backup option – and patients need to understand that if their doctor doesn’t prescribe antibiotics it’s because they genuinely believe they are not the most appropriate course of treatment.”

Tags: NHS | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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