Health Support

Antibiotic Resistance

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Quick Read
Clinical level

Tackling antibiotic resistance not only supports you but also future generations

As the World Health Organisation suggest
“Antimicrobial medicines are the cornerstone of modern medicine. The emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens threatens our ability to treat common infections and to perform life-saving procedures including cancer chemotherapy and caesarean section, hip replacements, organ transplantation and other surgeries.”
Antimicrobial resistance. The World Health Organization website. Retrieved 7th December 2023.

What is antibiotic resistance and why is it serious?

Antibiotic resistance is now becoming a problem for all of us even for those who do not take antibiotics regularly.

From the World Health Organisation
Antibiotic resistance Antibiotic resistance

From Antibiotic Research UK
About Antibiotic Resistance About Antibiotic Resistance | Resistant Bacteria | Antibiotic Research UK

The impact of an antibiotic resistant infection

An example of the treatment of an antibiotic resistant infection called MRSA is included below:

methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

As Patient info suggest
“Infection with MRSA bacteria mainly occurs in people who are already ill in hospital. It can be difficult to treat MRSA, as the bacteria are resistant to most types of antibiotic medicines. Many people are carriers of MRSA without even realising it, as MRSA often does not cause symptoms in healthy people.” MRSA | Health | Patient

From the NHS 

From Patient Info
MRSA MRSA | Health | Patient

From MRSA Action UK

MRSA in primary care MRSA in primary care | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE


From Antibiotic Research UK
“We are the only charity with a dedicated Patient Support service for people with antibiotic-resistant infections.”
Patient Support Support for antibiotic-resistant infection patients | Antibiotic Research UK

What can you do to help prevent antibiotic resistance?

Simple advice which can make a difference

From Antibiotic Research UK
Some excellent simple advice we can all follow
What can I do to help prevent antibiotic resistance? Preventing Antibiotic Resistance | What can I do? | Antibiotic Research UK

When do you really need antibiotics?

Common infections
The NHS and Patient info provide information on when antibiotics may be helpful and also when they are likely to provide no benefit. Their information is based on NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidance which has combined all the latest clinical trials and evidence in that area of prescribing, and this is what GP practice clinicians (such as doctors) follow. You can find information on some common infections under:

How can your pharmacist support you with common infections?

Support from your local pharmacist with common infections
Many patients will attend their local pharmacist for simple treatments and advice on common infections. Some common infections which your local pharmacist can support are included under:

You can find your local pharmacist and also services open at weekends and during the evening
Enter your postcode to find a local pharmacist Find a pharmacy – NHS


From the NHS 

From Patient info
Why wasn’t I prescribed antibiotics? Why Wasn’t I Prescribed Antibiotics? | Patient

better conversations between clinicians (such as doctors) and patients

This is not necessarily an easy task:
“GPs who prescribe fewer antibiotics have less satisfied patients, according to a new study by researchers at King’s College London.” 2015 Patients less satisfied by GPs who refuse antibiotics – BBC News

This is further updated by a more recent study discussed by Patient info
What factors are causing antimicrobial resistance? How has pressure on GPs contributed to antimicrobial resistance? | Patient

However, there is some hope on the horizon since this study:

  • There is increasing public awareness of the issue as evidenced by websites such as Antibiotic research UK Antibiotic Research UK | Fighting Antibiotic Resistance and this is likely to increase overtime.
  • There is more information in the public domain on guidance when antibiotics should be prescribed with websites such as  the NHS website and Patient info.
  • There is a greater push to “shared decision making” which encourages a collaborative process between clinicians (such as doctors) and patients based around available clinical evidence.

What is Shared decision making?

Shared Decision Making is
 “A collaborative process in which doctors and healthcare professionals work together with patients to select tests, treatments and care management or support packages, based on clinical evidence and patients’ informed preferences and values.” About Choosing Wisely UK – Choosing Wisely UK

This is expanded on under

Patient leaflets

From the Royal College of General Practitioners
TARGET antibiotics toolkit hub
TARGET stands for Treat Antibiotics Responsibly, Guidance, Education and Tools. It is a toolkit designed to support primary care clinicians to champion and implement antimicrobial stewardship activities. Course: TARGET antibiotics toolkit hub
It includes some helpful leaflets for patients on common infections which your clinician may point you to:

national approach

From Gov UK
Includes some of the latest news on antibiotic resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – GOV.UK

Antimicrobial stewardship: changing risk-related behaviours in the general population Overview | Antimicrobial stewardship: changing risk-related behaviours in the general population | Guidance | NICE

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