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Leading health organisations call for proper use of antibiotics

Last updated: 6.34pm, Wednesday 30th March 2016 by

Leading health organisations join forces for the first time to promote a ‘One Health’ approach to ensure responsible guardianship of antibiotics

Leading human and animal medical organisations – the British Medical Association (BMA), British Dental Association (BDA), British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) - join forces for the first time to promote a ‘One Health’ approach to ensure responsible guardianship of antibiotics and their proper public use this European Antibiotics Awareness Day (EAAD, 18 November 2015). Antibiotics are a vital medicine for both animal and human health, and modern health systems rely on the availability and effectiveness of a range of antimicrobials to treat and prevent infections. Yet inappropriate use – such as prescribing for self-limiting infections, not finishing a prescribed course of antibiotics or habitual prophylactic use in healthy animals to prevent disease - all contribute to the development of resistant bacteria in both humans and animals. The effectiveness of antibiotics has led to greater pressure from patients to be prescribed antibiotics as a panacea for all cases. According to a recent BVA survey, three out of five vets see clients who expect antibiotics to treat their pets. Yet despite the expectation to prescribe, there is still a lack of understanding about responsible antibiotic use with 70% of vets reporting poor owner compliance and a recent study showing nearly 6% of households having leftover antibiotics prescribed for humans, meaning patients had stopped their treatment early. BVA President Sean Wensley said: “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is too important an issue for uncoordinated approaches amongst the medical professions. We need to work together to share knowledge and successful approaches, as well as taking responsibility for not just the immediate clinical situations before us, but also for our role in supporting the health and wellbeing of wider society. An effective approach to tackling AMR is about professions and patients working together for the greater good.” BMA board of science Chair Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins said: “Doctors have expressed significant concern about the threat of a ‘post-antimicrobial age’. It is vital that we see action to improve antimicrobial prescribing across all disciplines. Only by different professionals working together to improve antimicrobial stewardship will we start to address this major public health issue.” BDA President Professor Nairn Wilson said: “All health professionals have a responsibility to draw a line under inappropriate or unnecessary use of antibiotics. One in ten prescriptions in the UK are provided by dentists, so we’re determined to do our bit. We are facing a clear and present danger to public health, and it will only be overcome if we act together.” For further information about EAAD 2015, please To mark EAAD 2015, BVA has produced a range of new posters to promote the responsible use of antibiotics for use in veterinary practices or as a source of information for pet owners which can be found on their website • The BMA is the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK. A briefing from the BMA board of science on antimicrobial resistance is available online here. • The BDA is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the United Kingdom and was founded in 1880. The BDA also has information and resources for dental professionals on their website • The RPS is the professional membership body for pharmacists and pharmacy in Great Britain.

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