Sefton residents are being asked to play their part in Public Health England’s new campaign to help keep antibiotics working.
An estimated 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections, so it’s important to take your doctors and nurses advice on antibiotics to keep them working.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, fully supports the campaign. He 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 South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby 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 Anna Ferguson at the Strand Medical Centre in Bootle, 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.”
Dr Hilal Mulla, at The Corner Surgery in Southport, added: “We’ve done a lot of work already with the CCGs to explain to people that antibiotics are not always the answer but this campaign 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.”
Antibiotics help ward off infections during chemotherapy, cesarean sections and other surgery. They also treat serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, but they are being used for everyday viral infections, where they are not effective. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
Furthermore, if you take antibiotics, you are more likely to get an antibiotic resistant infection. This risk is even greater for children who have taken antibiotics.
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.
The campaign, which is part of a wider cross-government strategy to help preserve antibiotics, will run from Monday, October 23 across England for eight weeks and will be supported with advertising, partnerships with local pharmacies and GP surgeries and social media activity.