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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-06208: Maree Todd (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government how it educates (a) patients and (b) clinicians on overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Answered by: Shona Robison 25 January 2017

Tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and reducing healthcare associated infections remain key priorities for Scottish Ministers. The Scottish Government is working closely with key partners such as the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG) and National Services Scotland (NSS) to reduce inappropriate prescribing and ensure that antibiotic use follows national and local evidence-based policies to combat the emergence of resistant organisms.

SAPG has developed education resources to support NHS Board Antimicrobial Management Teams in delivery of training on antimicrobial stewardship as well as self-directed learning for healthcare professionals. SAPG has also developed initiatives to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing working with clinicians in hospitals and primary care settings to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics for self-limiting infections, reduce the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, and ensure hospital antibiotic treatments are reviewed and stopped as soon as clinically appropriate.

SAPG has engaged with undergraduate medical, nursing and pharmacy training providers across Scotland to support inclusion of antimicrobial stewardship in all curricula. SAPG is also currently working with the National Prescribing Safety Assessment organisation to develop additional questions on management of infection and antimicrobial use for the UK-wide exam that all final year medical students and independent prescribing course participants must sit to demonstrate competence in prescribing.

In terms education for patients and the public, NHS Scotland has participated in activities for European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) held on 18 November since 2010 to increase awareness about appropriate antibiotic use and the threat from antimicrobial resistance amongst patients, the public and healthcare professionals. SAPG has worked with Public Health England and the other devolved nations to deliver a major public health campaign for the past 3 years, promoting Antibiotic Guardian aimed at patients, the public and health and care staff including targeted information for healthcare students and parents with young children.

The Scottish Government has supported this public health initiative and provided funding for SAPG to organise the printing and distribution of posters and leaflets to all health boards, community healthcare providers (GPs, dentists and community pharmacies) and care homes for older people. In 2015 and 2016 this has also included promotion of the Antibiotic Guardian pledge campaign in all community pharmacies in Scotland during the month preceding EAAD in collaboration with Community Pharmacy Scotland.