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People in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge urged to use antibiotics responsibly

15 November 2019

GPs in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge are reminding people to use antibiotics responsibily to ensure they can still protect us when we need them.

Antibiotics are a vital tool for modern medicine and are used to treat serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. They also help ward off infections during chemotherapy treatment for cancer, caesarean sections and other surgery. 

However, the more we use them, the less effective they become.

Overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics allows harmful bacteria to develop resistance, which stops them from working. This means that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you, your family and wider community at risk.

Research suggests people are frequently using antibiotics unnecessarily for illnesses which get better by themselves such as coughs, earache and sore throats.

This has led to a nine per cent increase in antibiotic-resistant infections between 2017 and 2018 – from 55,812 to 60,788 – and as a result, some common health conditions such as kidney infections and pneumonia have started to become untreatable.

Speaking ahead of World Antibiotics Awareness Week (18-22 November), Dr Jagan John, local GP and Clinical Lead for Urgent Care for NHS Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“In many circumstances, antibiotics can be lifesaving drugs, but if they are not used properly they might become ineffective and stop protecting us in the future.

“That’s why we’re reminding everyone to make sure that they use antibiotics responsibly and always seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking them.

“The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance bacteria will become resistant to them. It’s important to only use antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.” 

For more information about antibiotic resistance, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/antibiotic-antimicrobial-resistance/