HEALTHCARE workers should be given extra training to tackle the “ticking time bomb” of antimicrobial resistance, according to the chief medical officer.
Dame Sally Davies said urgent work must be done “to ensure the apocalyptic scenario of widespread antimicrobial resistance does not become a reality.” She warned that minor surgery and routine operations could become high risk procedures in the absence of suitable antibiotics.
The warnings come in volume two of the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2011 in which she makes 17 recommendations to address the “very real threat” of antimicrobial resistance.
She says training and continuing professional development should include a specific focus on the prevention and management of infections and should be available to “all health and care professionals including managers from chief executive down.”
RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada backed calls for targeted training and said patients also need to be better informed.
She said: “Patients have come to rely on - and expect - antibiotics for common colds and infections that will get better naturally or respond better to other treatments and this can make it difficult for GPs to prescribe appropriately.
"Antibiotics can achieve excellent results if prescribed and used appropriately but patients need to be more aware of their drawbacks and this report will help GPs to get this message across."
Dame Sally urged the government to put antimicrobial resistance on the national risk register and to effectively implement the UK 2013-2018 cross-government antimicrobial resistance strategy. She also made direct recommendations to Public Health England and the NHS Commissioning Board, urging them to monitor infection, antimicrobial prescribing and antimicrobial resistance.
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