Paul Cosford, Medical Director at Public Health England, comments:
“Antibiotic resistance is not a distant threat, but is in fact one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk of developing infections which in turn cannot be easily treated with antibiotics. Without urgent action from all of us, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become much riskier. PHE’s ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign helps to explain the risks of antibiotic resistance to the public. It is important for people to understand that if they are feeling under the weather and see their GP or a nurse, antibiotics may not be prescribed if they are not effective for their condition, but they should expect to have a full discussion about how to manage their symptoms.”
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, comments:
“Without effective antibiotics, minor infections could become deadly and many medical advances could be at risk; surgery, chemotherapy and caesareans could become simply too dangerous. But reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics can help us stay ahead of superbugs. The public has a critical role to play and can help by taking collective action. I welcome the launch of the ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign, and remember that antibiotics are not always needed so always take your doctor’s advice.”
Dr Chris Van Tulleken, TV and of infectious diseases doctor at University College London Hospitals, comments:
“As an infectious diseases doctor, I see first-hand what happens if antibiotics don’t work – and it’s scary. Antibiotics are not just vital for treating serious bacterial infections, they’re needed to help with other treatments like chemotherapy. Antibiotic resistance is a problem that will affect every one of us, so we all have a role to play. As GPs we are often asked to prescribe antibiotics by patients who think that they will cure all their ills. The reality is that antibiotics are not always needed so you shouldn’t expect to be prescribed them by your doctor or nurse. Always take their advice and remember that your pharmacist can recommend medicines to help with your symptoms or pain.”
Public Health England’s new campaign is part of a wider cross-Government strategy, involving the agricultural, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, which tackles the threat of antibiotic resistance by increasing supply and reducing inappropriate demand. To help keep this precious resource in the fight against infections working, the public are asked to play their part and urged to always take their doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice on antibiotics.
For further information on antibiotics, their uses and the risk of resistance, please search ‘NHS Antibiotics’ online.
 English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance Report
[i] Gov.uk. Thirty-day all-cause fatality subsequent to MRSA, MSSA and E.coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection, 2015/16. 2017. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/581282/HCAI_Fatality_report_2015_2016.pdf
[ii] Gov.uk. Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer. Infections and the rise of antimicrobial resistance. Volume Two. 2013. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/138331/CMO_Annual_Report_Volume_2_2011.pdf
[iii] O’Neill, J. Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: final report and recommendations. 2017. Available at: https://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160525_Final%20paper_with%20cover.pdf