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Patients told: Don’t ask for antibiotics

Overuse: Dame
Sally’s warning

PATIENTS are being urged not to request that their doctor prescribe antibiotics as part of a push to tackle growing resistance to the drugs.

An estimated 5,000 people die every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections, said Public Health England, which has launched the Keep Antibiotics Working campaign.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has warned of a ‘post-antibiotic apocalypse’, where they no longer work for serious infections. The government wants GPs to prescribe fewer antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance — where bacteria changes in such a way that the treatments become ineffective.

The campaign also tells patients to trust medics on when to take antibiotics and to take them as directed.

Antibiotics do not work on common conditions, such as colds and flu. But people should see their GP if symptoms persist.

Dame Sally said: ‘Without effective antibiotics, minor infections could become deadly and many advances could be at risk — surgery, chemotherapy and Caesareans could become too dangerous. Reducing inappropriate use can help us stay ahead of superbugs.’