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MRSA Action UK comments on reactions to the new NICE guideline on antimicrobial prescribing

Wednesday 18 February 2015

GPs must help us do more to reduce superbugs, skills and training - not cash incentives are needed

Derek Butler, Chair of MRSA Action UK appeared on ITN and Channel 5 News today highlighting the need for GPs to focus on patient outcomes in the prescribing of antibiotics.

MRSA Action UK supported the development of the NICE guideline on the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections, and welcomed the introduction of the quality statement on the requirement of judicious antimicrobial prescribing.

As people who have been directly affected we welcome the opportunity to be stakeholders with NICE in developing the draft guidance. We would emphasise however, that the prescribing of antibiotics is, and will always be, the responsibility of the prescribing practitioner, whether that is in or outside of hospital. The guideline must be viewed as a minimum requirement, and colleagues should be encouraged to focus on judicious prescribing.

MRSA Action UK does not however support or agree with Professor Mark Baker's comment in today's media that NICE is considering bringing antibiotics into the existing bonus scheme for GP's not to prescribe these drugs, this is both wrong and immoral as some patients will always require treatment for infections, it is the clinical need that needs to be ascertained and the correct diagnosis determined and appropriate treatment given that needs to be correct. Making a decision about whether a respiratory illness is bacterial or viral is not always easy in someone who is more vulnerable. For example, some throat and ear infections are due to bacteria, and not viruses, and some people with a cough and breathlessness are actually developing pneumonia, which may be bacterial and antibiotics would be essential.

While tests such as throat swabs or sputum (mucus) samples can help with diagnosis, such investigations take time, so skill needs to be deployed to make these decisions. We would have to say that giving bonuses is not necessarily a prerequisite to a GP or any prescribers' ability to be able to do this. So financial incentives should not be the focus here, patient outcomes must always be the main focus of any prescriber; the need is for training and better information in this field of medicine.

We look forward to working with NICE.
Jules and Steve conquered the cold in the London Winter Run
1 February 2015

Jules tells us there's more to come starting with the Roding Valley Half on 8 March. It was a fantastic event to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK on a unique closed road 10k through Central London. There were Snow Zones, a Swiss Winter Wonderland and Polar Bear Hugs! Jules loved the St Bernard dogs, they loved you too Jules, lovely!

Thank you Jules and Steve for raising £4,263.88 and covering over 1,400 race miles!

To support them leave a message on their Just Giving page visit
or text MRSA66 to 70070 and the amount to donate

These are their forthcoming challenges:

Roding Valley Half on the 8 March 2015
Surrey Spitfire 20 miler Dunsfold Aerodrome 29 March 2015
Brighton Marathon 12 April 2015
London Marathon on the 26 April 2015
Bupa 10K London on the 25 May 2015
Chase the Train in Wales in August 2015

You can read more about their fantastic achievements on their dedicated webpage
MRSA Action UK asks healthcare professionals and the public to be Antibiotic Guardians

Members of MRSA Action UK are making their pledge to become Antibiotic Guardians encouraging everyone to make better use of antibiotics.

The aim of this year's European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18th November is that by 30th November at least 10,000 healthcare professionals and members of the public will have committed to at least one pledge for prudent use of antimicrobials.

Antibiotics treat infections by killing bacteria, but now the bacteria are fighting back. Medicines are becoming less effective which means more deaths and more complications for people receiving treatment in hospital. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, organ transplants, cancer treatments all rely on antibiotics that work.

Antibiotics are precious. The message we are giving to healthcare professionals is to take care when prescribing them. Antibiotics have an important and often lifesaving role in healthcare, but prescribing them unnecessarily contributes to the problem of bacteria developing resistance to the antibiotics that they would have once been susceptible to.

We also want to remind the public that they should be aware that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and they do not work against virus infections such as those causing colds or most coughs. GPs should only prescribe antibiotics when you need them. When antibiotics are prescribed, it is important that patients always take them as directed and complete the course to get rid of the bacteria completely and so they can stay effective in the future.

25,000 people die each year across Europe from infections resistant to antibiotics. Research has shown that only 10% of sore throats and 20% of acute sinusitis benefit from antibiotic treatment but the prescription rates are much higher than this.

Everyone can help to preserve antibiotics for the future by taking simple actions. Don?t ask for them, treat cold and flu symptoms with pharmacist advice and over the counter medicines. Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed, never save them for later and never share them with others.

We have all been personally affected by the scourge of antibiotic resistance, and know what happens when the drugs don?t work. Anyone facing surgery is vulnerable, as there are more and more antibiotic resistant organisms developing in the healthcare environment. Members of the charity also give their time to work with research into antibiotic resistance and helping with writing guidelines and patient information with microbiologists and infection prevention practitioners. It?s a way of making sure our relatives have not passed away in vain, sharing our experiences to help get the message out there is important.

Anyone can pledge to be an Antibiotic Guardian by visiting
Kings College Hospital Trust
Infection Control Study Day - Date to be confirmed

Derek Butler will attend the Infection Control Study Day with Link Nurses and Nurse Champions from all clinical areas across Kings College Hospital Trust.

Derek will lead a morning teaching session for the emergency department on the effects MRSA has on patients and families. This is with the aim of impressing on clinicians the very real consequences poor hand hygiene can have for patients.
Maria Saraceni completed the Reaper's Run in Coventry On Saturday 18th Oct 2014

Trees and winding forest trails mud, lakes and obstacles are waiting for Maria to run the Reaper, all for MRSA Action UK. Maria tells her story of her own experience with MRSA on her Just Giving page:

"I myself acquired MRSA whilst pregnant with my third child. It was the most frightening illness I have ever experienced, especially when, after three years of suffering, I was down to the last treatment options. Hope was further fading when I was informed that I had a very rare form, Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL), which, at that time, the consultants had little knowledge of and the prognosis was poor."

"However, it is not just my experience that inspires me. I have a number of friends whose loved ones went into hospital with an illness or condition and ended up losing their life to a hospital acquired infection."

"I am concerned for the future of healthcare, for although we have a modern healthcare system, this is meaningless if we still have avoidable healthcare infections in our hospitals. I am thus raising funds for the charity MRSA Action UK to help them campaign for safer standards in our hospitals, to ensure that we pass on to our children a healthcare system safer than the one we inherited from our parents and to support and help those affected by avoidable healthcare infections."

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend Sue who, just as I was giving up hope, contacted and put me in touch with Derek and Maria, founders of MRSA Action UK. Derek and Maria's own personal tragedies led them to form MRSA Action UK and they work tirelessly, on an entirely voluntary basis, to help and support others, like myself, affected by hospital acquired infections and their families. Their help and support was invaluable and I think it would be fair to say that they saved my life. Several years have now passed and I will remain forever indebted to them, not only for the practical help they provided but for the much needed emotional support that made me feel I wasn't alone and that there was hope. And there was!"

"I now think it is time I gave something back."

MRSA Action UK is here to help and support you when you need it. You can see how Maria get's on by visiting her Just Giving page at

Thank you Maria.

MRSA Action UK has joined JustGiving
If you think you can help then please get in touch to talk about getting involved, you may like to help with fundraising and raising awareness. You can do this by donating through Just Giving securely or by creating your own fundraising page or a page in memory of someone. 

Just ten pounds could help to support people affected by MRSA or other infections by helping with advice and understanding from others who have been affected.  It could also help to provide patient information leaflets, posters to raise awareness on how to prevent infections, leaflets and training materials for seminars, workshops and education events.

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If you or someone you care about has been affected by a healthcare infection and you wish to discuss this with us, please contact us at