The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has recently launched a major new campaign to raise awareness of the importance of antimicrobial stewardship amongst pharmacists.
RPS is encouraging pharmacists to play a much greater role in national and local action plans to tackle AMR, building on examples of good practice around the country to ensure a robust evidence-based approach to the use of antibiotics.
As part of the new campaign, RPS has published a Reference Guide on Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) for community pharmacists providing practical advice on action to take with patients, to minimise antibiotic resistance. The Society has also laid out new policy guidelines on AMS which describes its aim to see pharmacist leadership in AMS strengthened, in order to contribute to wider efforts in meeting the challenge set by the UK Government of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50% by 2020.
Philip Howard, a RPS spokesperson on antibiotics and consultant antimicrobial pharmacist, said:
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats facing the planet, estimated to contribute to 700,000 deaths globally every year. The challenge is to coordinate action nationally as well as globally, and pharmacists across all sectors can play a vital role in terms of patient care as well as leading on action planning.”
Professor Ash Soni, President of the RPS, said:
“As the third-largest health profession in the UK, pharmacists will be central to efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, whether it is researching new treatments, reducing inappropriate prescribing, or offering advice to the public on reducing the risk of infections.”
“All pharmacists have a role to play in AMS. I think there’s a perception that it is the solely the domain of hospital pharmacists but primary care and community colleagues also play an essential part in managing this huge challenge. Providing advice on self-care, how long infections can be expected to last and how to take antimicrobials as well as providing services such as flu vaccinations can make an enormous difference.”
Antibiotic Research UK has been working closely with pharmacists and pharmaceutical bodies from all over the country. Trustee and pharmacist at the University of Aberdeen, Professor Christine Bond, spoke recently with Rose Marie Parr, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland, about Scotland’s current strategy on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and plans for tackling AMR in the future. Both also agreed that pharmacists have an increasingly important role to play in the fight against AMR.
To find out more about the RPS and what it is doing to combat AMR, click here.