NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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Keeping antibiotics working for you

Keeping antibiotics working for you
13 November 2018

Health services in Sheffield have been working hard to keep antibiotics working by reducing the number of courses prescribed unnecessarily.

Over the past four years, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) practices have seen a reduction of 9% in the number of prescribed antibiotic courses. This is favourable compared with the overall picture in England during this time period.

Antibiotics are life-saving medicines. They are used to treat serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, a potentially severe bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues.

However, antibiotics are not effective for viral infections such as colds, flu, or most sore throats. In fact, if people take antibiotics when they’re not needed, the next time they get an infection it is more likely that antibiotics will not work, making it harder to treat. This is even more likely for children who have taken antibiotics.

It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance could kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.

Dr Andrew McGinty, Sheffield GP and chair of NHS Sheffield CCG Antimicrobial Stewardship Group, said: “There are simple actions we can all take to fight the threat of antibiotic resistance. To help keep antibiotics working you are urged to always take your doctor or nurse’s advice on antibiotics and don’t take them unless they are prescribed to you.

“If you are suffering from a minor illness such as a cold, sore throat or flu and are unsure of the best way to treat it, your local pharmacist can help and advise you on steps to take to get better.”

NHS Sheffield CCG have used a number of initiatives to achieve the positive reduction in antibiotic prescribing in the city including; providing resources for clinicians about the alternatives for antibiotics, promoting self-care and the appropriate services available, using national campaigns to raise awareness and providing prescribing data to practices to enable them to see patterns and trends in prescribing.

European Antibiotics Awareness Day takes place on 18 November, NHS Sheffield CCG is encouraging everyone to spread the message about antibiotic resistance.

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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