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Leading pharmacy on the high street Boots UK pilots Antimicrobial Resistance Audit with care homes

Antibiotics are a precious resource and resistance to antibiotics is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today. Antibiotic resistance can lead to longer stays in hospital, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

Boots UK is undertaking an Antimicrobial Resistance Audit across the care homes it supports which will coincide with the World Health Organisation (WHO) launch of its World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13th November). The audit carried out by Boots UK over a four week period, aims to highlight the main issues around antimicrobial resistance in the care home environment and the role that community pharmacists can provide. The results, expected early next year, will be used to improve the care pharmacists can provide to patients and care home staff in the guardianship of antibiotics.  

Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots UK comments;

“Antibiotics are useful in a wide variety of infections but there is a high level of misunderstanding amongst the public over their correct use. As they only treat bacterial infections, antibiotics will not treat viruses like flu and the common cold.

“Due to overuse and misuse, antibiotics are in danger of losing their effectiveness and so we hope that our amnesty will reduce the incorrect use of antibiotics and encourage our customers to think twice before taking them.

“We hope that the audit in our care homes division will evidence the important role our community pharmacists play in delivering this agenda right the way through the link from service to supply and ongoing monitoring.”

Philip Howard, Vice President, British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy www.bsac.org.uk comments; “It is excellent to see community pharmacy getting actively involved in antimicrobial stewardship, both within the pharmacy and to the care homes they provide dispensing services to. Community pharmacy can play an important role in improving the way antibiotics are used.”

To support the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, alongside the audit, Boots UK will also be communicating with its network of pharmacists who will be encouraged to talk to patients about the prevention of infections and the importance of taking antibiotics correctly, as well as renewed awareness of how they themselves can prevent infections by ensuring hands and the dispensing environment are kept at a high standard of cleanliness. Boots UK customers will also be encouraged to bring in unwanted and unused antibiotics as part of an amnesty being co-ordinated by Imperial College London.