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Nurses to spearhead drive on antibiotics resistance

Nurses are being asked to spearhead a campaign launched by Public Health England to tackle growing resistance to antibiotics.

Nurses are to be at the forefront of a drive to tackle growing resistance to antibiotics.

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The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign urges members of the public to heed advice from health professionals and only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary.

An estimated 5,000 people die every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections, according to Public Health England (PHE), which has launched the campaign.

Preventing infections

The body says nurses and midwives have a key part to play in fighting antimicrobial resistance as their role helps prevent infections, which mitigates the need for antibiotics.

Keep Antibiotics Working will support all nurses and midwives to develop their stewardship role as so-called 'antibiotics guardians', and provide evidence to support their conversations with patients, families and the general public about the use of antibiotics.

It will also provide helpful information for nurse and midwife prescribers.

Front line

Public Health England chief nurse Viv Bennett said: 'All nurses and midwives are on the front line in the fight against antimicrobial resistance and so play a key role in managing patient expectations around the prescribing of antibiotics.

'The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign supports the profession by educating the public about the dangers of antimicrobial resistance and the risks to their health in taking antibiotics when they are not needed. As antibiotics guardians, nurses and midwives can help combat the growing threat that antimicrobial resistance poses to us all.’

Keep Antibiotics Working dovetails with PHE’s existing Antibiotics Guardian campaign aimed at healthcare professionals. The Antibiotics Guardian campaign calls on health professionals to make their own pledge to help tackle antimicrobial resistance, such as displaying information on antimicrobial resistance, and flagging up any antibiotic prescription which has continued over seven days to a prescriber or pharmacist.

As well as television adverts and a social media campaign, PHE is producing posters, leaflets and video presentations for use in surgeries, clinics, prescribing rooms and patient waiting areas.

Limiting the threat

RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control Rose Gallagher said: 'We risk simple illnesses being prolonged and even turning fatal if the issue isn’t addressed.

'The nursing profession can make a significant contribution to limiting the threat of antimicrobial resistance and improving the long-term outlook of the NHS. Nursing staff must be given the resources and support to put this campaign into action.

'Lives are being lost prematurely – it is vital that the public are aware of the dangers of taking antibiotics when they don’t need to. We urge patients to listen to advice from nurses and other health professionals on their use.'


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