Public and health care professionals across Scotland are being asked to make a pledge to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
The Antibiotic Guardian UK-wide pledge campaign is part of this year’s European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) which takes place on 18 November and aims to raise awareness about the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance due to unnecessary use.
The campaign is asking parents, doctors, nurses, vets and pharmacists to become “Antibiotic Guardians” by agreeing to do one thing which will help make better use of the vital medicines and safeguard them for future generations.
Those wishing to become an antibiotic guardian are being encourage to make the pledge on the antibiotic guardian website and share it.
The campaign is being led in Scotland by the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG), which is based within the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).
A recent SAPG report shows Scotland is ahead of many other European countries when it comes to reducing prescriptions for antibiotics, with a decrease of 6.5% in 2013 – 14.
However Dr Jacqueline Sneddon, project lead for SAPG, believes there’s still work to be done.
She said: “Antibiotic resistance is a major public health issue and a threat to the future of healthcare. The World Health Organisation has warned of a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries can kill. Far from being an apocalyptic fantasy this is a very real possibility for the 21st century.
“Without effective antibiotics safe and effective healthcare will become increasingly difficult. As well as their use for treating infections antibiotics are an essential part of care for patients undergoing operations and receiving cancer chemotherapy.
“While Scotland has made substantial progress in improving the quality of antibiotic prescribing both in hospitals and in the community, we still have more to do to ensure we are better placed to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. That’s why we’re calling on the public and professionals alike to make this pledge.”
The campaign will also aim to raise greater awareness of antibiotic resistance via posters and leaflets in GP surgeries, dentists, community pharmacies and care homes. These are designed to provide advice on self care for infections like coughs and colds, manage patients’ expectations of illness duration and also highlight potentially serious symptoms that require further assessment.