World Antibiotic Awareness Week

General practice leading the charge on smarter prescribing, comments from Darren Nichols, Managing Director, FDB.

Commenting for World Antibiotic Awareness Week, a campaign led by the World Health Organisation, Darren Nichols, Managing Director, FDB (First Databank), said:


World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019 marks the setting of some important policy milestones for the UK around the ever more pressing matter of antimicrobial resistance, underlining the need for responsible and effective prescribing practice.


Senior leaders across health and care signed a letter in recent weeks, coordinated by Public Health England, reminding healthcare professionals that the 2019 World Antibiotic Awareness Week also heralds the first of a new five-year UK National Action Plan for antimicrobial resistance. Targets set out in the plan include reducing the number of specific drug-resistant infections in people by 10% by 2025, and reducing UK antimicrobial use in humans by 15% by 2024.


Importantly, the letter encourages organisations to remain up to date with appropriate guidelines around antibiotic prescribing.


Evidence from our own interactions at FDB with general practice, shows that many prescribers are proactively harnessing the technology available to them to make this happen.


More than 4,000 GP surgeries across two thirds of England’s clinical commissioning groups and a number of Wales’s health boards, are already using a decision support technology known as OptimiseRx as an integral part of their prescribing practices and decisions.


For antibiotics alone the technology contains more than 500 patient and condition specific alerts and messages around local and national prescribing guidance that are helping general practice prescribers to understand when a particular medicine should and should not be prescribed as a first line antibiotic, and when other more appropriate medicines exist that pose less risk of resistant infections developing.


GPs like many healthcare professionals are faced with constantly growing pressures, with limited time to read up on every condition and every piece of changing prescribing guidance.


Fundamentally, technology can and is helping to overcome this challenge and empowering healthcare professionals to prescribe responsibly in the face of the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.


This is about helping professionals to prescribe antibiotics appropriately, to use them sparingly for their patients and to use them in a targeted manner, so that they are supported in taking control of a very serious global health issue.