GPs vital in educating patients about antibiotic resistance

Paul Hayes

13/11/2017 1:07:00 PM

It is time GPs are considered a key part of the solution – rather than a driver – in the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance, RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP.

General practice is an ideal place to better educate patients about antibiotic resistance.
General practice is an ideal place to better educate patients about antibiotic resistance.

‘We are hearing time and time again that GP over-prescribing of antibiotics is leading Australian patients down a dangerous path, but GPs are the solution,’ he said at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week.
According to a recent national survey conducted by NPS MedicineWise, more than half of respondents said they were either unsure or did not believe they would be affected by the issue of antibiotic resistance. Dr Seidel believes general practice is the ideal place for patients to learn about the idea of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate prescribing.
‘GPs have a vital role to play in maintaining antibiotics effectiveness, in addition to educating the public on their appropriate use and emerging resistance.’
Dr Seidel stressed the need for a united and strategic approach – from clinicians and government alike – to address the situation. If Australia is to overcome the issue of antimicrobial resistance, he said, an effective strategy must include:

  • collaboration between federal and state governments to identify and measure
    • prescribing activity in primary healthcare
    • rates of community antibiotic microbiome resistance
    • hospital admissions and emergency department presentation rates, monitoring serious infections that might have been mitigated by antibiotic use in the community
  • collaborative development and promotion of educational resources on the issue of antimicrobial resistance, and of reducing demand for antibiotics
  • more educational activities and resources for GPs on effective methods for assisting in the safe reduction of antibiotic prescribing
  • funding for further research into strategies for addressing antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance in general practice, as well as established antimicrobial resistance programs for general practice care.

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