As part of Antibiotics Awareness Week (12-18 November) local NHS health leaders across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are urging families to join the fight against antibiotic resistance and hand over unused antibiotics as part of an antibiotic amnesty.
The development of antibiotics has been one of the most important advances in medicine to fight bacteria and treat infections. Now, because of the over-use and misuse of antibiotics, bacterial infections that were once easily cured are becoming harder to treat.
Without urgent action, common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill, and the benefits of advanced treatments such as chemotherapy and major surgery will be lost.
Dr Shaba Nabi, the CCG’s Clinical Lead for Prescribing explained:
Antibiotics are a precious resource, the effectiveness of which is under threat from increasing bacterial resistance, creating one of the most significant threats to patient safety in Europe. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, and chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work. By handing in unused or out of date antibiotics we can all help to stop them being used inappropriately and slow down the development of antibiotic resistance. We are calling on people to make better use of antibiotics and help save them from becoming obsolete. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause.
Dr Jonathan Hayes, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG Clinical Chair, said:
Lots of people attend GP surgeries wanting to receive prescriptions for infections which their bodies are good at fighting off on their own, like coughs, colds and sore throats. Initially you should try treating and controlling the symptoms for a few days by getting lots of rest, eating well and drinking plenty of fluids. Community pharmacists are well placed to help provide advice on over the counter medicines that can also help treat symptoms.
The antibiotic amnesty is being run in conjunction with World Antibiotic Awareness Week which encourages healthcare professionals and the general public to think about their use of antibiotics to help prevent resistance.
GPs will always prescribe antibiotics when they are required and by taking unused antibiotics in your cupboard without a prescription, the risk of resistance is increased.
People can hand in unused or out of date antibiotics at any community pharmacy or hospital in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire as part of the amnesty.
Visit the Antibiotic Guardian website to sign up to become an Antibiotic Guardian and pledge your support.