Government plans to control antimicrobial resistance launched

amrPlans to contain and control antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by 2040 are being launched by the Government.

The Department of Health claims AMR has increased due to misuse of medicines, poor infection control and global travel.

It is launching a 20-year vision, along with a five-year action plan on AMR.

‘The increase in antibiotic resistance is a threat we cannot afford to ignore,’ Prime Minister Theresa May said.

‘It’s vital we tackle the spread of drug-resistant infections before routine operations and minor illnesses become life-threatening.

‘I am very proud of the UK’s global leadership on this important agenda.

‘We will continue to work with our partners to drive international action that will protect the health of future generations.’

Guidance for dentists

Following this, FGDP(UK) and the BDA have jointly published an updated version of their Antimicrobial Prescribing Self-Audit Tool.

Dentists currently issue around 5-7% of all antibiotic prescriptions in the NHS.

The guidance from FGDP(UK) and the BDA is designed to help guide dental professionals on when to prescribe antibiotics.

‘The Government’s renewed focus on tackling AMR is very welcome,’ Dr Nick Palmer, editor and co-author of the Faculty’s prescribing guidance, said.

‘Dentists have a vital contribution to make in keeping antibiotics working.

‘FGDP(UK) is enabling dentists to play their part in tackling a significant global problem.

‘By using the self-audit tool, consulting our guidance and undertaking CPD, GDPs can help ensure they only prescribe antibiotics when clinically justified.

‘We can also help reduce misuse of antibiotics by educating our patients to take and dispose of them responsibly.’

Long-term investment

The BDA has blamed a lack of time in target-driven dental practices for increasing pressure on unnecessary prescriptions.

It has also pointed to a lack of funding to provide appropriate treatment using adjunctive antibiotics only when necessary.

‘Antimicrobial resistance represents an existential threat to human health,’ BDA president, Susie Sanderson, said.

‘This profession has made huge strides, but real progress now requires a long-term investment.

‘Where patients require direct interventions to treat infections this requires clinical time, which is at a premium in a target driven system.

‘Antibiotics are not and should not be considered a substitute when it comes to managing these conditions.

‘But the reality is that it takes time to discuss treatment options with patients, explain when antibiotics are not appropriate and then deliver the most appropriate care.

‘Delivering funded urgent time would send the clearest possible signal that NHS England is committed to helping dentists win the battle against antibiotic resistance.’

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