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Being Antiobiotics Aware

The healthcare community is becoming increasingly aware of the very real, global health risk of antibiotic resistance. Over prescription of antibiotics can lead to resistance. Which means that antibiotics may no longer work.

A growing list of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective. We also know that antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality. (World Health Organisation)

The Australian Therapeutic Guidelines offers guidance in terms of the prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (ARIs). Some reports estimate that Australian prescribing rates are between 4 and 9 times higher than what is recommended. (Medical Journal of Australia

A report released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2016 found the highest rates of antibiotics use in the community were among children up to nine years old and people over 65. (Sydney Morning Herald)

As part of World Antiobiotic Awareness Week (November 13-19), we are asking GPs to take action and help educate patients about the ineffectiveness of antibiotics against viruses, which cause about 95% of respiratory infections. 

To raise awareness of this important message, we have recently launched a “Be Antibiotics Aware” campaign. We have worked with Dr Norman Swan to develop:

  • A patient brochure 
  • A 30 second patient video to be shown in general practice waiting rooms (below)
  • An awareness video for GPs with practical tips for managing patients who may request antibiotics 

Our aim is to help community members and health professionals hold a more meaningful discussion in relation to antibiotic use.

If you would like copies of our brochure to display in your waiting room or provide to patients, please contact our Program Development Officer, David Crispe on 4708 8100. 

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Lizz Reay's avatar
Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.
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