B&NES residents are leading the fight against antibiotic resistance

Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) has the highest proportion of Antibiotic Guardians per population in the UK, according to new data released by Public Health England.

Antibiotic resistance poses a huge threat to global health. An estimated 25,000 people in Europe die each year because of hospital infections caused by just five resistant bacteria, and it is believed this figure will reach 10 million by 2050.

To encourage the general public to take actions that will help slow the growth of antibiotic resistance, Public Health England launched the Antibiotic Guardian campaign in 2014. Actions include taking unused antibiotics to a pharmacist to be disposed of safely, limiting the risk of antibiotics getting into the environment.

The latest data from 2016 show that 134 out of every 100,000 residents in B&NES have pledged to be an Antibiotic Guardian, which is more than in any other area of the country.

“This is a fantastic result, it reflects the absolute commitment we have in B&NES to tackling this very real global threat,” said Dr Ruth Grabham, a local GP and Medical Director of the Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (BaNES CCG).

“Plus, these results don’t take into account the increased numbers of people who may have pledged to become a Guardian after seeing the wonderful posters designed by B&NES schoolchildren and displayed around the region since January.”

Year 3 schoolchildren from across B&NES took part in a Council and CCG-led campaign in Autumn 2016 that taught them about antibiotic resistance and the importance of stopping the spread of infections. The pupils designed posters to illustrate what they learned, and those posters can be seen on display around B&NES in locations including GP surgeries, community pharmacies, and sports centres.

The campaign has been shortlisted for a ‘Community and Public Engagement’ award in this year’s Antibiotic Guardian awards.

As a region, B&NES is also continuing to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, particularly for winter coughs and colds, with approximately 14,000 fewer prescriptions given between March 2015 and February 2017. Similarly, we have reduced the number of inappropriate prescriptions of broad-spectrum antibiotics – the type needed for the hardest-to-treat infections – by a third over the same time period.

Visit www.antibioticguardian.com to find out more about the threat of antibiotic resistance and make your pledge today.