Antimicrobial stewardship and the role of community pharmacy

Dr Jacqueline SneddonArticle by Jacqueline Sneddon, Project Lead for SAPG Chief Executive, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

As healthcare professionals, you will be aware that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health issue and an important threat to the future of healthcare. The need to accelerate progress in tackling AMR is well established. European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on 18 November, now part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, is an excellent platform for raising professional and public awareness of the problem of AMR and what everyone can do to use antibiotics more wisely.

The recent publication of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Antimicrobial stewardship campaign supports the role of all pharmacists in tackling AMR through increasing public awareness, supporting self-care and providing advice to patients.

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. In 2015 and 2016 we supported the Community Pharmacy Public Health campaign featuring posters supporting the Antibiotic Guardian pledge campaign led by Public Health England during October – November. We would like to thank you for your previous support of EAAD and ask for your ongoing support in 2017.

This year NHS Scotland will continue to support the Antibiotic Guardian campaign but we have designed new ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ posters and leaflets aimed at patients and the public and aligned with PHE’s messages for EAAD 2017. We have agreed with colleagues in Scottish Government that these will be used for the Community Pharmacy Public Health campaign during October and November. We hope you like the new materials and will use them to engage with patients and the public.

To support engagement with patients we also continue to offer a Community Pharmacy self-care leaflet to provide personalised advice on symptom management to patients suffering respiratory symptoms. The leaflet can be downloaded from our website.

We have other EAAD resources available on our website including Antibiotic Guardian fact sheets, quizzes and crossword puzzles for patients to read when waiting for their prescription.

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