NHS patients urged to stop asking for antibiotics in television campaign

Doctors have switched to back-up medicines that require longer hospital stays for E Coli patients

PATIENTS are being urged not to request that their doctor prescribe antibiotics as part of a push to tackle growing resistance to the drugs.

"Without urgent action from all of us, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become much riskier".

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, is backing a new campaign to discourage adults with coughs, colds and sore throats rushing to ask for antibiotics. They add: "Take us for the wrong thing that's unsafe to do/ when you really need us we could stop working for you".

"Without reliable antibiotic prophylaxis (treatment given to prevent disease), procedures such as chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, much major surgery (such as joint replacement) and invasive diagnostic procedures (eg, cardiac catheterisation) will become too unsafe to perform", said Professor Christopher B Del Mar, an academic GP at Bond University.

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria changes in such a way that the medication used to treat them - in this case antibiotics - becomes ineffective.

"But reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics can help us stay ahead of superbugs".

Only then should they see a GP.

Around 5,000 people in England die each year because antibiotics have become resistant to some infections and experts predict resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined within 30 years.

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