Public Health England (PHE) has relaunched the national "Keep Antibiotics Working" campaign to help reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions.
This is the third year of the campaign, which raises awareness of the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and supports the government’s ambition to halve inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in the UK by 2020.
The campaign's key aims are:
- Alert and inform the public to the issue of AMR in a way that they understand and increase recognition of personal risk of inappropriate usage.
- Reduce public expectation for antibiotics by increasing understanding among patients about why they might not be given antibiotics, thus reducing demand.
- Support healthcare professional (HCP) change by boosting support for alternatives to prescription.
The campaign is aimed at all adults, with a particular focus on groups most likely to use antibiotics:
- Women aged 20-45 who tend to have primary responsibility for family health across SEG groups.
- Older men and women aged 50+, with a focus on those with recurrent conditions and high levels of contact with GPs.
PHE’s latest English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR) report shows that there were an estimated 60,788 antibiotic-resistant infections in England during 2018 - a 9% rise from 2017. Antibiotic-resistant bloodstream infections increased from 12,972 in 2014 to 17,108 in 2018, a 32% increase.
However, the ESPAUR report also highlighted that there has been a 17% drop in antibiotic prescriptions written and dispensed in general practice since 2014.