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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As people who have been directly affected we welcome the opportunity to be stakeholders with NICE in developing the draft guidance.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 complete the Roding Valley Half Marathon
8 March 2015

Jules and Steve completed the Roding Valley Half Marathon on Sunday 8th March. Over 600 runners took part in the spring-like conditions. Jules found the hills a challenge and finished in 01:58:13, Steve finished in 01:50:51. Jules said she looked happier than she felt. We think you both look fabulous, as always.

Thank you Jules and Steve for raising over £4,300 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:

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

SURF Workshop
26th March 2015

The University of West London has appointed to the post that will provide ongoing support for the Healthcare Associated Infections Service Users' Research Forum (SURF). There will be a meeting of SURF in London to review its work and achievements since its formation in 2008 and more information about how we will work with the University of West London in the future.

International MRSA Testing Week
April 1st - 7th 2015

Our colleague and friend in the USA Jeanine Thomas is working on some new programs for the MRSA Survivors' Network - encouraging youth involvement and exploring the possibility of producing a documentary on MRSA.

Jeanine is gearing up for the April 1-7th awareness campaign - International MRSA Testing Week and is trying to introduce a Bill for universal screening for MRSA at a federal level.

Jeanine will be hosting the 7th Annual World MRSA Day Kickoff event on Saturday, September 26th in Chicago. Her events will coincide with our awareness raising throughout October and on World MRSA Day itself, October 2nd, we will be at the annual Infection Prevention Society Conference in Liverpool, where we will be promoting awareness with colleagues from across healthcare who are experts in infection prevention and control.
Association of Hospital Cleaning Professionals
Southern Branch Study Day

9 April 2015

Carlos Alves, Southern Branch Chairman and Housekeeping Services Manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has invited MRSA Action UK to present at their Study Day.

The Future of Patient Safety Conference 2015
Delivering Quality Care for All
Friday 15th May 2015, University of Salford, Manchester

MRSA Action UK will be attending this conference in May.
The event will include sessions on:
- Placing patient care at the heart of the NHS
- Ensuring that reducing the risk of health care associated infections (HCAI's) remains an NHS priority
- Using information to improve quality, safety and the patient experience
- Delivering openness and transparency in patient care
- Tackling Healthcare-Associated infections
- Commissioning for quality improvement

More information on how to register interest or book a space

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