Antibiotics amnesty returns

An amnesty for people to bring back their unused antibiotics and help combat antibiotic resistance is being held by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust for the second year following last year’s successful scheme.

The antibiotic amnesty is being run in conjunction with World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) which encourages healthcare professionals and the general public to think about their use of antibiotics to help prevent resistance.

Antibiotics are important medicines for treating bacterial infections but the more they are used the more bacteria are able to adapt and find new ways to survive the effects of the medication. This leads to a build-up in resistance and means the antibiotic can no longer be used to treat infections.

The Trust together with Imperial College and outpatient partners Lloyds pharmacy, held its first antibiotic amnesty in 2015. Since then the amnesty concept has been developed nationally by the Centre for Pharmacy postgraduate education in collaboration with its partners. 

Mark Gilchrist, consultant pharmacist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said:

“Antibiotics are a precious resource, the effectiveness of which is under threat from increasing bacterial resistance, creating one of the most significant threats to patient safety in Europe.

“We can all help to reduce antibiotic resistance by only taking antibiotics when they are prescribed. Antibiotics should never be saved for later or shared with others and it’s important to remember that they cannot treat common illnesses such as colds or sore throats.

“By handing in unused or out of date antibiotics we can all help to stop them being used inappropriately and slow down the development of antibiotic resistance.”

People can hand in their unused or out of date antibiotics at any of the Trust’s Lloyds outpatient pharmacies based at St Mary’s Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital Hammersmith Hospital until Friday 2 December.