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Hospitals urged to think before issuing antibiotics

18th November 2011

A fresh plea has been issued to doctors and nurses to think twice before prescribing antibiotics.

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The Department of Health has published new guidance on the use of antibiotics in hospitals to coincide with European Antibiotics Awareness Day in a bid to prevent patients being given them too much and developing resistance to such drugs.

The new guidance, ‘Start Smart, Then Focus’, provides hospital prescribers with best practice advice on antimicrobial prescribing and will help ensure patients receive the right drug, at the right time, and at the right dose.

The aim is to avoid unnecessary lengthy duration of antibiotic treatment and inappropriate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics as misuse of antibiotics is causing bacteria to become resistant.

The Department said the increase in antibiotic resistance is a major concern which needs action at a global level and that it is essential that antibiotics are used in the right way to slow down resistance.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: “Many antibiotics are currently prescribed and used when they don’t need to be – meaning antibiotics lose their effectiveness at a rapidly increasing rate.

“This guidance will help ensure better use of antibiotics in hospitals and treatment tailored for individual patient needs.”

Professor Mike Sharland, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection – which developed the guidance - said: “This new national guidance is an important addition to the tools available to help healthcare professionals in tackling the serious problems of antibiotic resistance and healthcare associated infection.”

 

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