“Without effective antibiotics, minor infections could become deadly and many medical advances could be at risk – surgery, chemotherapy and Caesareans could become simply too dangerous.”
“But reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics can help us stay ahead of superbugs.”
“The public has a critical role to play and can help by taking collective action.”
“I welcome the launch of the Keep Antibiotics Working campaign, and remember that antibiotics are not always needed so always take your doctor’s advice.”
The government wants to see a further drop in the number of antibiotic prescriptions issues by GPs to tackle the threat from resistance. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria change in such a way that the medication used to treat them – in this case antibiotics – becomes ineffective.
The PHE’s new campaign tells people to always trust their doctor, nurse or pharmacist on when to take antibiotics. It says that if they are prescribed, they should be taken as directed and never saved for later or shared with others.
Antibiotics do not work on many common conditions, such as colds, flu, earache, sore throats and some chest infections. However, people should see their GP if they have prolonged symptoms and develop other issues such as a sickness, a very high temperature or shortness of breath.
Melissa Mead, whose son William died from sepsis due to a chest infection that could have been treated with antibiotics, said she backed the campaign but warned there should be “less of a taboo” about prescribing antibiotics when needed.
William, from Cornwall, had been ill for six to eight weeks before he died. He had been seen by GPs six times before his death.
The doctors failed to diagnose a chest infection and eventual pneumonia which led to the sepsis that killed him. A report into his death said there was pressure on GPs to reduce antibiotic prescribing.