Waste Not, Want Not - Medicines Waste campaign targets antibiotics

A campaign to help tackle medicine waste is encouraging people to only use antibiotics when needed.

The Waste Not, Want Not – Medicines Waste campaign is a south west Essex initiative designed to raise awareness of the costly issue of unused prescription medicine and highlight the overuse of antibiotics.

Healthcare commissioners NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Thurrock CCG have joined forces to reduce the costs of wasted medicines which is estimated to be £2.5 million a year locally...money that could be better spent on improving services such as 100 extra community nurses.

Now with the cold and flu season well underway, the Waste Not, Want Not – Medicines Waste campaign is sending out the message that most people will NOT need to be treated with antibiotics for their winter ailments.

The CCGs have produced a new range of leaflets on antibiotics which are available from doctors’ surgeries and the CCGs’ websites:

Antibiotics - what you and your family should know
Dry, tickly or chesty cough?
Home care is best
Snotty, sniffly or sneezy?
Delayed prescription – helping prevent the overuse of antibiotics

Denise Rabbette, Head of a joint dedicated Medicines Optimisation team covering both CCGs, said: “Antibiotics are rarely needed for coughs or sore throats because they are usually caused by a virus. Pharmacists can advise on simple self-care treatments and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Patients should not expect their GP to prescribe antibiotics because they are usually not necessary.

“As well as the money being wasted on unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics, there is also the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is leading to bacteria resistant to antibiotics which could mean many routine procedures, such as operations and cancer treatment, become increasingly dangerous in the future.”

The Waste Not – Want Not Medicines Waste campaign is reminding patients:

  • Antibiotics do not work for MOST colds, coughs, sore throats or earache. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own.
  • To ask their pharmacist about over-the-counter remedies that can help in the first instance.
  • Not to expect or demand treatment with antibiotics from their GP.
  • When antibiotics are prescribed by a health professional, always take them as directed and complete the course.
  • Sometimes a GP may give a delayed prescription for antibiotics which can be collected a few days later but only if you do not feel better or feel worse.
  • Never save any antibiotics for later or share antibiotics with others.
    Remember, the more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance that bacteria will become resistant to them so that they no longer work on infections

Find further information on the Waste Not, Want campaign and how you can help to combat Medicines Waste here

For further information on how you can help protect our antibiotics visit http://antibioticguardian.com/public/

Date: 3 January 2017

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