●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton, and executive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). ANTIBIOTICS are used to treat and sometimes prevent bacterial infections.
However, they are of no use in fighting many other types of infection and can increase the risk of antibiotic resistance when prescribed unnecessarily.
That is why the CCG will be making a pledge in its 2015/16 prospectus to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for less serious conditions.
Our stance supports Public Health England’s antibiotics guardian campaign.
Antibiotic resistance can occur in several ways.
Strains of bacteria can change over time and become resistant to a specific antibiotic.
The chances of mutation increase if a person doesn’t finish a course of antibiotics as some bacteria may be left to develop resistance.
Also, antibiotics can destroy many of the harmless strains of bacteria that live in and on the body.
This allows resistant bacteria to multiply quickly and replace them.
Overuse of antibiotics in recent years has played a major part in antibiotic resistance.
This includes using antibiotics to treat minor conditions that would have got better without them.
Overuse has led to the emergence of superbugs including MRSA, C difficile and MDR-TB – the bacteria that causes multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Superbugs can be serious and difficult to treat, and are becoming an increasing cause of disability and death around the world.
In fact, the World Health Organisation estimates that there are about 170,000 deaths a year from MDR-TB.
Fortunately, infections from MRSA and C difficile are below the national average in Macclesfield District General Hospital and other inpatient settings in eastern Cheshire – and have been falling for years.
However, there is no room for complacency and worries remain worldwide that there may emerge new strains of bacteria that are untreatable by existing antibiotics.
That’s why GPs in eastern Cheshire only prescribe antibiotics with good reason.
Thankfully our patients support this approach and have known for years that antibiotics are not the answer to the common cold, most sore throats and lots of other ailments.
●● Dr Paul Bowen