The call to action provided by today's Chief Medical Officer report provides a welcome focus on tackling antibiotic resistance, an issue which we consider to be one of the most serious threats facing public health today.
Ever since antibiotics were discovered almost a century ago, the threat of resistance to these life saving medicines has been with us, but antibiotic resistance is now a danger to the huge advances we have made in preventing and treating infections.
It’s important to ensure educational programmes are focused on changing the behaviour of both healthcare staff and the public. Patients and health professionals need to agree a new partnership where antibiotics are reserved only for the infections that they can treat. Relief from the symptoms of self limiting viral illnesses like colds is best managed by seeking advice from your local community pharmacist.
We now need to ensure that we preserve our existing antibiotic stock by building on the work already started within hospitals and other organisations to restrict, review and monitor their use.
New antibiotics have been developed to combat resistance but today the pipeline of new antibiotics has slowed. There needs to be joined up action globally, with surveillance organisations and the pharmaceutical industry to develop new antibiotics. This is our last chance to make a difference or we risk a return to the pre-antibiotic era where infections we can currently treat easily become incurable.
Our RPS spokespeople have been speaking to media outlets up and down the country about antibiotic resistance.
RPS Chief Scientist Professor Jayne Lawrence has been discussing the report with Sky News:
Watch Jayne Lawrence on ITV News
RPS Antibiotics Expert Mark Gilchrist has been speaking to ITV News:
Watch Mark Gilchrist on ITV News