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£1.25 million to tackle antibiotic resistance


19 March, 2008  

Scottish hospitals will get an extra £1.25 million to fight antibiotic-resistant healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), such as MRSA.

The funding is part of an action plan announced today by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

The action plan sets out to promote ‘prudent’ prescribing of antibiotics, through improved training and diagnostic tools. A more robust surveillance programme will also be established to monitor the situation across Scotland’s hospitals, and enable early identification of serious emerging resistance to antibiotics within hospitals and the community.

The £1.25 million will provide Scottish NHS boards with state-of-the-art testing equipment for better and faster monitoring of bugs’ resistance to antibiotics.

Sturgeon said: “Resistance to antibiotics is recognised internationally as a major threat to public health and patient safety and this growing problem is something the Scottish Government takes very seriously.

“One of the most important things that can be done in the fight against hospital superbugs is to stamp out unnecessary use of antibiotics.

“If you have a cold or a virus, in the vast majority of cases you don’t need to take antibiotics. In fact, doing so unnecessarily can increase the virulence and spread of infections like MRSA and C.diff, which we all know can have a devastating effect.

Dr Penelope Redding, Lead Consultant Microbiologist (South Glasgow), NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Analytical processing for antibiotic sensitivity testing has now been standardised across all 27 diagnostic laboratories in Scotland, yielding significant benefits. It also includes a bacterial identification programme.

“Antibiotic sensitivity testing is now carried out through an automated processing method known as VITEK. Following the installation of VITEK, turnaround times for test results have reduced. This means that appropriate antibiotic treatment for patients can be started sooner.”

The Scottish Government