New report highlights urgency of taking action against antibiotic resistance

14 March 2014 

With new data released today showing the prevalence of healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus or ‘Golden Staph’ bloodstream infections in Australian hospitals, NPS MedicineWise is urging everyone to take action to help stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.

The report released today by the National Health Performance Authority shows there were 1,724 cases of the potentially deadly Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection acquired through public hospitals in 2012–13. 

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says the new data highlights the importance of both health professionals and other individuals taking responsibility to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We know that without substantially changing our behaviour and attitudes when it comes to using antibiotics wisely, we are potentially facing a future in which we return to the pre-antibiotic era where simple infections can no longer be treated with antibiotics,” says Dr Weekes. 

“In light of the new data about the number of Staph aureus cases in hospitals, NPS MedicineWise is urging hospital staff — including doctors, nurses and pharmacists — to take our pledge to fight against antibiotic resistance.”

The pledge asks all hospital and community health professionals to be a champion for appropriate use of antibiotics when prescribing, dispensing, offering advice or answering questions about antibiotics. 

The health professional pledge sits alongside a pledge for other individuals, which asks all Australians:

  1. Not to expect antibiotics for colds and the flu as they have no effect on viruses.
  2. To take antibiotics as directed if they are prescribed.
  3. To practise good hygiene to help stop the spread of infection.

“Antibiotic resistance is everyone's problem,” says Dr Weekes.

“Antibiotic-resistant infections are increasingly becoming a problem not just in hospitals, but also in the community, and they can affect anyone not just those who are very unwell or have been hospitalised.

“Health professionals and individuals alike have a responsibility to preserve the miracle of antibiotics — and we must step up and act now or risk losing these miracle drugs forever.”

NPS MedicineWise is currently undertaking a five year campaign to help stop the spread of antibiotic resistance in Australia.

To read more about antibiotic resistance, and to take the pledge, visit www.nps.org.au/pledge

Media enquiries: Stephanie Childs on (02) 8217 8667, 0419 618 365 or schilds@nps.org.au

ENDS

Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Australian Prescriber is an independent peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on therapeutic topics for health professionals, particularly doctors in general practice. It is published every two months and distributed to health professionals free of charge, and is also available online at www.australianprescriber.com 

If you are a journalist seeking comment on a story or more information on any of our programs or campaigns please contact one of our media advisers: Stephanie Childs on 02 8217 8667 (during office hours) or call the NPS MedicineWise media phone on 0419 618 365 (for urgent media requests outside of office hours). If your enquiry is not urgent you can also send us an email.