by Dr Jacqueline Sneddon, Project Lead for Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group, part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Dr Jacqueline Sneddon highlights opportunities for community pharmacy teams in Scotland to support European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) 2016 and contribute to the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
As healthcare professionals, you will no doubt be aware that antimicrobial resistance is a major public health issue and an important threat to the future of healthcare. The need to accelerate progress in tackling antimicrobial resistance is well established. European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is an excellent platform for raising professional and public awareness of the problem of antimicrobial resistance and what everyone can do to use antibiotics more wisely.
In Scotland, activities for EAAD are led by the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG) and we provide printed resources for use in hospital and community settings. Community pharmacies are ideally placed to provide information for patients and the public about antimicrobial resistance, appropriate use of antibiotics and how to manage symptoms of self-limiting infections. We would like to thank you for your previous support of EAAD and ask for your ongoing support in 2016.
This year, NHS Scotland will continue to support the Antibiotic Guardian campaign and we have also designed some new Antibiotic Resistance posters and leaflets that will feature as the Community Pharmacy Public Health Campaign in the month leading up to EAAD. We hope you like the new materials and will use them to engage with patients and the public.
We are also promoting Community Pharmacies as the first point of contact for patients with symptoms of minor infections. All colds and most coughs, sinusitis, otitis media and sore throats often get better without antibiotics and community pharmacists are well placed to help provide advice on over the counter medicines to treat symptoms.
In 2014, we launched a Community Pharmacy self care leaflet to provide personalised advice on symptom management to patients suffering respiratory symptoms and this is now in use UK-wide. The leaflet can be downloaded from our website as well as other resources including Antibiotic Guardian fact sheets, quizzes, crossword puzzles and colouring in sheets for patients to read when waiting for their prescription.
We hope that pharmacy teams will support this day and help us to change public behaviours and stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance to protect antibiotics for future generations.