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Health written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had on encouraging awareness of appropriate antibiotic use.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Department has made available on its website a range of resources to encourage prudent use of antibiotics, and promoted the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on 18 November 2011 to remind both the public and professionals of the need to use antibiotics appropriately. This included making clear that antibiotics are important medicines and should only be taken when prescribed by a health professional, and that it is important that patients complete the prescribed course so that the treatment is effective and the risk of resistance is reduced.

In August this year, the chief medical officer took part in a BBC Radio 4 discussion about people’s resistance to antibiotics and what the future holds. In addition, in support of the Department’s new guidance on the use of antibiotics in hospitals, published ahead of the EAAD, the chief medical officer said:

“Many antibiotics are currently prescribed and used when they don't need to be—meaning antibiotics lose their effectiveness at a rapidly increasing rate.”

“This guidance will help ensure better use of antibiotics in hospitals and treatment tailored for individual patient needs.”

“It is important we use antibiotics in the right way if we are to get the best outcome for the patient, slow down resistance and make sure these important medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves and for future generations.”

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