SPECIALIST staff at Basildon Hospital added their support to a national campaign to highlight the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
During Antibiotic Awareness Week, pharmacists and doctors spoke to colleagues, patients and visitors about the importance of using antibiotics only when they are absolutely necessary. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Handle with care’, to underline the message that antibiotics are a precious resource and over-prescribing can add to the growing threat of resistance to these vital drugs.
The pharmacy team set up an information stand in the hospital reception area. They engaged visitors with information, quizzes and a ‘guess the bug’ competition, to get clinical staff and patients thinking about how antibiotics should be used and the importance of good hand hygiene in combatting infection.
Of the four types of infection – bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic, antibiotics are only effective against the bacterial kind. But due to over-prescribing, resistance to antibiotics is becoming a global threat, according to scientists. This has serious potential consequences for numerous aspects of medicine, from the treatment of chest infections, to surgery, transplants and some cancer treatments.
Cassie Pang, antimicrobial prescribing and infection control pharmacist, said: “Clinical staff and patients know that since their discovery, antibiotics have saved many lives and made treatments such as organ transplants possible. But because the resistance of bacteria is outpacing the development of new antibiotics, we all have a duty to use them with great care.
“As hospital pharmacists, we have a key role to play in trying to reduce antibiotic resistance by ensuring the correct antibiotics are used for the infection that is being treated so that patients benefit from these valuable medicines.”