Back to news

Southwark cares about antibiotics

Southwark has more 'Antibiotic Guardians' than any other London borough, new figures have revealed.

antibiotics picture.jpg

Healthcare professionals who sign up to become an Antibiotic Guardian pledge to protect antibiotics by prescribing them only when they are really necessary, as over-use can make them ineffective. Members of the public can also be Antibiotic Guardians and pledge to not expect or ask their GP for them if their illness can be treated in any other way.

Southwark has more people signed up as Antibiotic Guardians –95.5 per 100,000 population per calendar year  – higher than any other London borough, and this figure is also the fourth highest  of all CCG areas across the country.

Dr Jonty Heaversedge, local GP and Chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "This is great news, it shows that Southwark cares about preserving antibiotics and making sure they remain effective for future generations. I would like to congratulate the CCG's Medicines' Optimisation Team for their hard work."

Our Antibiotic Guardians do seem to be true to their pledges – for the first three quarters of 2016/17, GPs in Southwark wrote out almost 3,000 fewer prescriptions for broad spectrum antibiotics than over the same period in 2015/16. Also, the CCG's prescribing rate for all antibiotics remains considerably lower than the national target.

Dr Aparna Babu, local GP and Clinical Associate for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Control, said: "Our team has worked hard to promote the reasons why we should only prescribe antibiotics when we really have to. I am very pleased to see that we have more Antibiotic Guardians in Southwark than any other London borough and that the GPs among them are putting their pledges into action by encouraging self-care and prescribing antibiotics only for those who need them."

Many people signed up to become an Antibiotic Guardian during Antibiotic Awareness Week in November 2016. The CCG plans to promote this again when it is repeated in November 2017.

The week served as a reminder that antibiotics do not work on viruses, which are the most common cause of coughs, colds, tummy bugs and ear infections. Handwashing with soap and water is a good way to protect yourself against these infections. Antibiotics may be life-saving for infections such as meningitis, so by not using them unnecessarily, they are more likely to work when we really need them, for example for a kidney infection or pneumonia.

If you would like to find out more, or to make your pledge if you haven't already done so, visit the Antibiotic Guardian website.