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Patients urged not to demand antibiotics

News | Published:

PATIENTS are being urged not to demand antibiotics from their doctors in an effort to reduce the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

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According to the latest figures available, 16 fewer antibiotic prescriptions were issued by GPs in Jersey per day in July this year compared to the same month in 2016.

However, the Health Department said that Jersey’s prescription rate for antibiotics – which are used to treat bacterial infections – still remained higher than England’s.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, director of primary care, said: ‘We can see a downward trend overall. While this is in the right direction, it’s not enough. If we are to win the fight against antibiotic resistance, we must further reduce our overall usage of antibiotics in the Island. Doctors need patients to play their part.’

GPs and hospital doctors will now explain to patients about the risks of antibiotic resistance and about when antibiotics are not beneficial and therefore not needed.

Dr Ivan Muscat, director of infection prevention and control, said: ‘Antibiotic resistance is a global problem and the signs tell us it is set to get worse. In Europe every year the problem of resistance is considered to cause at least 25,000 deaths. And resistant organisms are increasingly common in Jersey too, affecting both the community and the Hospital.

‘This risk from overuse of antibiotics has been acknowledged by both GPs and hospital doctors in Jersey, but must be discussed with the population as a whole so that everyone understands why doctors will be prescribing antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.

‘Our local antibiotic prescription rates are falling but remain higher than those in England and many other countries in Northern Europe. These countries continue to have good outcomes from infection, emphasising that we can reduce our prescription rates safely. Indeed, not reducing our antibiotic prescription rates is what would be unsafe.’

A poster has been designed for GP surgeries asking Islanders not to demand antibiotics every time they are ill, to take them exactly as they are prescribed and tell friends and family how to use them properly.

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