Local GP backs campaign on antibiotics

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Broadbank Road Surgery, Allerton. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

An officer for the Liverpool Local Medical Committee is backing a campaign supporting national efforts in reducing inappropriate prescriptions for antibiotics

The Public Health England (PHE) health body says that antibiotics are being used for colds and flus despite being completely ineffective in fighting the illnesses, and it has launched a campaign in the North West to tackle the issue.

PHE is urging people to only take the prescribed drugs under doctors’ advice and the campaign has been targeted locally as it has a particularly high prescription rate.

Dr Rob Barnett, GP for Greenbank Road Surgery in Allerton and secretary for the Liverpool Local Medical Committee, told JMU Journalism: “What we’re trying to do with this campaign is remind patients that antibiotics aren’t the answer to all infections.

“If someone has got a very straight forward respiratory infection, such as a cough or a cold, then the chances are it is a viral infection and viruses don’t respond to antibiotics.

“We’re trying to get the message across that antibiotics don’t always work. They only work for certain types of infections and if they take antibiotics when they’re not really necessary then actually when they do need them they’re not going to work.

“The bacteria we’re trying to fight is cleverer than us and builds up a resistance which will causes problems in the years to come.”

Antimicrobial resistance is caused when antibiotics are used to an extent where the bacteria causing an infection adapts to survive the drugs, meaning that treatment no longer works. The resistant bacteria then gets spread to other people and the more a certain antibiotic gets used, the more bacteria become resistant to it.

It is thought that around 5,000 people die each year in England and up to 50,000 a year within Europe and the US due to antibiotics no longer working to fight the infections.

The campaign will be launched nationally if it is successful within the North West.

YouTube: Public Health England

About James Harrison, JMU Journalism