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13.11.17

Responsible antibiotics use could halve number of people with drug-resistant infections

Good management of antibiotics in hospitals could reduce the number of drug-resistant diseases affecting patients.

Research, published in The Lancet, has found antibiotic stewardship programmes can reduce the number of hospital infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria by 51%.

In response, NICE has said that healthcare professionals should select the dose, length of treatment and type of administration (for example, tablets or injection) that is right for the person and the infection. Being more careful not to use antibiotics unless completely necessary.

Certain conditions, such as flu or mild viral infections, do not need to be treated with antibiotics and will likely clear up just as quickly given time.

The research comes on the back of Public Health England’s (PHE) recent ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign, aimed at stopping a potential “post-antibiotic apocalypse” caused by too many diseases gaining resistance.

NICE says stewardship programmes – where healthcare providers are taught specifically when and where to use antibiotic treatment – could slow down the development of medicine resistance in diseases.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at the healthcare institute, explained: “Antibiotic resistance is a concern for us all.

“If we do not act now we face a future where these medicines will no longer work, which would mean people would die from routine surgery and other common infections we can currently treat.

“Stewardship programmes only work when everyone is on the same page. It can be hard work, but this new research shows the difference we can make when we work together. It is very good news.”

In Wales, programmes have shown significant progress, with the number of deaths from ‘superbugs’ down to a 15-year low.

Top image: Savushkin

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