Health experts in Sefton support antibiotic resistance campaign

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sefton residents are being asked to play their part in Public Health England’s effective campaign to help keep antibiotics working. 

The ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign has returned this month due to its success in October 2017, to remind us that taking antibiotics when we don’t need them puts us and our families at risk. It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, we always take our doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.

Nationally, 38% of people expected an antibiotic from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre or ‘GP out of hours’ service when they visited with a cough, flu or a throat, ear, sinus or chest infection in 2017*.

Councillor Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, who fully supports the campaign, said: “Antibiotics don’t work for everything. They don’t work for colds or flu and common conditions like kidney infections and pneumonia have started to become untreatable. When it comes to antibiotics, take your health professional’s advice.”

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Sefton CCG are supporting the campaign alongside the council and have spent a number of years reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions to ensure that only the patients who really need them are prescribed them.

Dr Hilal Mulla, at The Corner Surgery in Southport, said: “It is so important that people realise that antibiotics are not always the answer and that the more they are used to treat minor health conditions; the more likely they are to become ineffective for treating more serious conditions.

“For minor illnesses such as coughs and colds your local pharmacy can advise you on which over the counter medicines can help. They can also speak to you about self care such as keeping warm during the winter months and looking after yourself and others around you should you become unwell.

“We’ve done a lot of work already with the CCGs to explain to people that antibiotics are not always the answer but running this campaign again will hopefully add to this, helping GPs and pharmacists spread the word more and remind people about the risks of taking antibiotics when it’s not necessary.”

Public Health England, Sefton Council and the CCGs in Sefton are calling for the public to play their part in tackling the antibiotic resistance epidemic by trusting their doctor or nurse’s advice as to when they need antibiotics and if they are prescribed, taking antibiotics as directed and never saving them for later use or sharing with others.

Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside people to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when we really need them.

As antibiotic resistance increases common procedures such as caesarean sections and hip replacements could become life-threatening without antibiotics to ward off infections. Cancer patients are also much more vulnerable if antibiotics don’t work; both cancer and the treatment (chemotherapy) reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infections and antibiotics are critical to both prevent and treat infections in these patients.

The campaign will run for eight weeks up until 16 December across England and will be supported by advertising, partnerships with local pharmacies, GP surgeries and local authority community hubs along with social media activity.

For more information on antibiotic resistance visit our 'Keep Antibiotics Working' page.

*McNulty et al, PHE and Capibus Survey, Attitudes towards antibiotics, 2017