Bugs becoming more resistant to antibiotics, warns consultant
A local hospital consultant says bugs increased resistance to antibiotics pose a greater and more immediate threat to people than global warming.
Dr Shabham Iyer, Chief microbiologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust warns that relatively simple infections could soon prove potentially fatal taking the health system back 80 years to before the discovery of penicillin.
The Trust highlighted the problem as part of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November) and World Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-20 November).
Dr Iyer said: “Bacteria are constantly evolving and outsmarting us and we’re on the edge of a real disaster in global healthcare.
“The impact of global warming will be felt by future generations but today’s generation will take the brunt of the problem caused by increasingly ineffective antibiotics. These bugs have no respect for human boundaries so it’s everyone’s problem.”
The Trust says around 10% of its annual pharmaceutical budget is spent on antibiotics while around 30% of patients on its wards are currently treated with antibiotics.
Dr Iyer says the problem lies in both the overuse of general antibiotics in and outside of hospital as well as poor investment into the research and development of new and novel antibiotics around the world.
She added: ““We need to ensure we use antibiotics in the right way, at the right dose and at the right time to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance.
“We also need to see a cultural shift where there is greater use of diagnostic tools to accurately diagnose an infection and reduce prolonged use of ‘best guess’ antibiotics whose antibacterial spectrums are usually broader than necessary.”
The 2014 English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR) report showed that from 2010 to 2013, the total use of antibiotics increased by 6%, within general practice use increased by 4%, while prescribing to hospital inpatients increased by 12% and other community prescriptions increased by 32%.