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Pharmacy First: Practising good antimicrobial stewardship

There is recognition that community pharmacy teams have a key role to play in antimicrobial stewardship. Pharmacy First and similar schemes are intended to enable more completed episodes of care in pharmacies for specific common conditions, some of which will involve treatment decisions about antibiotics.

Key facts

  • Inappropriate prescribing and overuse of antibiotics contributes to the growing problem of drug resistant organisms
  • The provision of antibiotics where appropriate via condition-specific PGDs is a key part of the new Pharmacy First service in England
  • Pharmacists working in disadvantaged areas may be more likely to encounter resistance when they do not recommend an antibiotic
  • There is good evidence that the way health professionals discuss whether antibiotics might or might not help, influences how patients accept their recommendations

Learning objectives

After reading this feature you should be able to:

  • Explain to patients why an antibiotic is/is not an appropriate response to their infection as part of a Pharmacy First consultation
  • Implement evidence-based advice in conversations with patients about whether an antibiotic is indicated
  • Ensure that symptom relief treatments are used effectively and in preference to antibiotics, wherever appropriate.

By Professor Alison Blenkinsopp and Dr Martin Duerden

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