The Royal Pharmaceutical Society supports the guidance published today by NICE over better controls for antibiotic use across all healthcare settings.
The NICE guidance for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and other health professionals recommends setting up multidisciplinary antimicrobial stewardship teams working across all care settings to review prescribing and resistance data and feed this information back to prescribers.
RPS President Ash Soni said: “Antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious threats facing public health today.
“Better stewardship of antibiotics has a vital role to play in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use. All prescribers need to be vigilant and ensure all treatment options have been considered before antibiotics are prescribed.
“The vast majority of antibiotics are prescribed outside of hospitals, usually by GPs. What’s also required to meet the antibiotic challenge is increased support for GPs and patients from other community health care professionals so we are all taking the same approach to prevent antibiotic overuse.
“Pharmacists are already playing their part at the point of dispensing in educating and advising patients about how to take antibiotics correctly. For example, it's essential to always finish a prescribed course of antibiotics otherwise bacteria can become more drug-resistant.
“All community pharmacists can give people advice on how to deal with minor infections, like coughs and colds, to ensure patients get fast, same-day advice to manage minor ailments and help ease the pressure on GP surgeries.
“In some areas, local NHS Minor Ailment Services
are provided by community pharmacies and also give access to free treatment for those who qualify for free prescriptions. At present, provision of this service is very hit and miss, with only 1 in 3 pharmacies in England commissioned to deliver it.
“The RPS wants to see a nationwide Minor Ailment Service through community pharmacies in England which could proactively help reduce the risk of over-use of antibiotics by tackling minor health problems before they are needed.”
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