Yarn bombers and woollen bugs support pharmacists’ plea

Monday November 13, 2017


Colourful knitted examples of bacterial infections like E.coli and salmonella are helping to highlight the importance of using antibiotics appropriately at Western Sussex Hospitals.

To mark Antibiotic Awareness Week (13-17 November, 2017), woollen bugs have been created to adorn the popular penguin sculptures at Worthing Hospital as well as Brutus the Rhino at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

The trust’s antimicrobial pharmacists teamed up with yarn bombers Storm Ministries and knitting group Common Threads to promote in a fun way the serious messages behind this year’s national Keep Antibiotics Working campaign.

If we don’t work together to tackle this problem, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will all become much riskier, setting modern healthcare back by decades.

Antimicrobial pharmacist, Jo Munns, said: “It is really important that we only use these life-saving medicines when appropriate to ensure they remain effective for ourselves and future generations.

“In the hospital, we are already witnessing a rise in antibiotic resistance and experts have predicted that antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined by 2050. It is therefore critical that we take action now to keep antibiotics working.”

During the week, staff and visitors to the hospitals will be encouraged to become Antibiotic Guardians and make a pledge to only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary.

For example, visitors could pledge to try and treat coughs and colds for five days before visiting their GP, or if prescribed antibiotics pledge to dispose of them at a pharmacy to prevent unused drugs unnecessarily entering the environment.

Antimicrobial pharmacist, Sharon Kaur, said: “Antibiotic medicines are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate and the more we use them the more bacteria adapts and becomes resistant.

“If we don’t work together to tackle this problem, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will all become much riskier, setting modern healthcare back by decades.”

Information stands and the knitted displays will help raise awareness of the #KeepAntibioticsWorking campaign throughout Antibiotics Awareness week. However, Western Sussex Hospitals is pro-active all-year round, using smartphone app technology and electronic prescribing to both monitor the use of antibiotic medicines and increase awareness of the importance of appropriate prescribing.

For more information or to sign up to be an Antibiotic Guardian please visit antibioticguardian.com

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