As well as working with health and social care staff to improve antibiotic use and optimise patient outcomes, we also help to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and appropriate use of antibiotics amongst patients and the public.
While Scotland has made progress when it comes to reducing unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics, work still needs to be done to help reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. Healthcare providers need to change their practices to preserve antibiotics, but patients and the public also have an important role to play. When patients ask for antibiotics to treat common self-limiting infections this may put pressure on doctors to prescribe them unnecessarily.
The key action we can all take to stop antimicrobial resistance is to improve the way we use antibiotics. The inappropriate use of antibiotics causes bacteria to develop resistance to them.
Inappropriate use includes:
- unnecessary prescription of antibiotics for self-limiting or viral infections
- not taking your antibiotics as prescribed - not taking at regular intervals, skipping doses or not finishing the course, and
- saving antibiotics that are left over for later or sharing antibiotics with others.
By raising awareness of the issue of antibiotic resistance among healthcare staff and the public, we aim to keep antibiotics working for future generations. One of the main ways we do this is though European Antibiotic Awareness Day.