Fylde coast patients have been reminded once more that antibiotics are not always the answer to common illnesses such as colds and the flu.

It comes after the Government-prompted Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) reported that a change in global attitudes was required otherwise superbugs could kill someone every three seconds by 2050.

The Review, chaired by Lord Jim O’Neill, called for a worldwide public awareness campaign to educate people about the problem of rising drug resistance in antibiotics with 10million people predicted to die every year from resistant infections by 2050 – up from about 700,000 today.

NHS Fylde and Wyre and Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and GPs across the region have been working hard to raise awareness locally about the appropriate use of antibiotics.

Special leaflets and posters embracing the popular ‘Think! Why A&E?’ branding have been encouraging patients to ‘Think! Antibiotics may not always be the answer’.

Family doctors who are regularly asked for antibiotics by patients mistakenly believing they need them have also been filling out information leaflets advising patients of the correct course of action based on their symptoms.

Guest, Felicity (in practice)Thornton GP Dr Felicity Guest, who is also medicines management lead for Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “Antibiotics can kills off helpful germs, as well as the harmful ones, meaning taking them can make patients pick up other infections more easily.

“Harmful germs can outsmart antibiotics and become resistant to them, so new infections are developing that are harder to treat with antibiotics.

“We could soon be close to the point where antibiotics may no longer be able to treat some everyday infections or diseases.”

In his foreword, Review on Antimicrobial Resistance chairman Lord O’Neill said: “Without policies to stop the worrying spread of AMR, today’s already large 700,000 deaths every year would become an extremely disturbing 10 million every year, more people than currently die from cancer.

“We need a global public awareness campaign to educate all of us about the problem of drug resistance, and in particular children and teenagers. I see this as an urgent priority and urge international campaign developers, industry experts, and non-governmental organisations to consider how they could help to support an urgent global campaign on AMR.

“Although AMR is a massive challenge, it is one that I believe is well within our ability to tackle effectively. The human and economic costs compel us to act: if we fail to do so, the brunt of these will be borne by our children and grandchildren.”

The full report can be found at http://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160518_Final%20paper_with%20cover.pdf

Key facts about antibiotics

  • Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria.
  • Antibiotics are usually taken by mouth, but can sometimes be given into a vein (intravenous), into a muscle (intramuscular) or applied to the skin (topical)
  • Antibiotics work by killing bacteria and/or preventing their growth.
  • Different types of antibiotics treat different kinds of infection.
  • Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for respiratory infections, but most of these are caused by viruses not bacteria.
  • Most patients are prescribed antibiotics without the doctor knowing the cause of the infection.
  • Colds and most coughs are caused by viruses not bacteria, so antibiotics will not help.
  • If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may lose their ability to kill bacteria.
  • Antibiotic resistance is growing. If the bacteria keep “overpowering” the medicines we have, we may run out of ways to kill these bacteria.
  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can cause serious infections and can be spread to others in your family

Notes:

  • NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services in the area to meet patients’ needs. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
  • Led by family doctors (GPs), the CCG currently serves a population of 152,000 people across approximately 320 sq km of coast and countryside. The majority live in the urban towns of Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Lytham St Annes, but a significant proportion live in rural villages.
  • The CCG receives a set amount of money from the government and is committed to spending this wisely for the benefit of local people.
  • Giving you more choice is a priority of the modern NHS. More information is available at fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/choice
  • The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient: nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/NHSConstitution/Pages/Overview.aspx
  • There are many ways to get involved in health service developments, including joining our Influence membership scheme or your practice’s patient participation group.