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20.04.17

HEE calls on providers to educate staff on responsible antibiotic prescribing

Employers and healthcare providers need to make sure staff are better trained to responsibly administer and prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of resistant infections, a new survey conducted by Health Education England (HEE) has found.

The survey asked 72 CCGs and trusts across the country about their approaches to antibiotic use and how staff were educated about the drugs, and found that only half of respondents provided mandatory training on core requirements for using antibiotics.

Only 14% provided training for all staff, while 28% provided it for clinical staff only, and 61% said that education was given to all prescribers, both medical and non-medical.

Very few (19%) also followed up on training with repeated educational sessions after three years.

This has led HEE to ask employers to ensure that training on responsible antibiotic use was put in place for all prescribers of medicine as part of their induction, and that providers should continue to support and update their training throughout their careers.

A separate report published alongside the survey also made a number of key recommendations for bodies across the system. These include encouraging providers to consider the role of an antimicrobial resistance education strategy to set out training requirements for staff, and organising targeted awareness sessions for management and executive teams at NHS trusts.

Geb Byrne, director of education and quality at HEE, said that although antimicrobial resistance cannot be eliminated, providers and HEE needed to work together to limit the risk it poses to the public and minimise its impact.

“As part of this, it is crucial that prescribers have the right knowledge and skills, to ensure that prescribing interventions are safe and that they deliver the best outcomes for their patients,” he said.

“We ask employers to take note of this report and take forward actions to place more training to ensure their staff are well-trained in how to combat antimicrobial resistance. This report is an important milestone in achieving this goal, and we look forward to taking the recommendations forward, to help manage and reduce the risks of antimicrobial resistance.”

Writing in the January/February issue of NHE, Katherine Murphy, then CEO of the Patients Association, described the threat of antimicrobial resistance as “nothing short of cataclysmic for medical science not only in the UK, but for every country, in every continent and for every individual”.

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