GPs cut antibiotic prescriptions by 2.6m in just one year

NHS Improvement says overall reduction in antibiotic prescriptions of 7.3% in just one year
image source: samantha celera – Flickr//CC BY-ND 2.0

The number of antibiotics being prescribed to patients by GPs in England has fallen significantly according to latest figures.

NHS Improvement say prescriptions for all types of the drug were down by more than 2.6m, compared with last year, to about 34m in 2015-16.

Heralding the drop as a “fantastic result” the health watchdog said the figures showed doctors were being careful not to over-prescribe antibiotics, the BBC reported.

More from  NHS Improvement here

BBC News: GPs praised for ‘dramatic’ cut in antibiotic prescriptions

Antimicrobial Resistance Review recommendations

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance has published its final recommendation in the document Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations.

image source:

This report discusses the problem of resistance; why action is needed; and provides an overview of the solutions that should be implemented.  It also examines the role of public awareness campaigns; the need to improve sanitation and hygiene; the introduction of rapid diagnostics and vaccines; how these solutions can be funded; and ways to build political consensus around them.

Additional links:

NICE News report      BBC News report

What should we do NOW? Review of a large NHS Trust’s meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus screening

Smith, S.J. et al.Journal of Hospital Infection. Published online: 13 May 2016

Universal meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening has been in effect since 2010. MRSA bacteraemia rates have declined substantially, with continuing low MRSA prevalence in hospitals.1 In 2013, the UK Department of Health (DH) commissioned a review of MRSA screening ‒ The National One Week prevalence audit (NOW) ‒ which reviewed the cost-effectiveness of a variety of screening strategies.2Modelling studies determined that the current practice of universal MRSA screening was the least cost-effective and that current compliance with screening was low at 65.7%.

Read the abstract here


The innovators: Irish lab develops coating to ward off superbug

Hickey, S. The Guardian. Published online: 15 May 2016.
Image source: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image shows electron micrograph of Escherichia coli.

Infections such as MRSA which have developed resistance to drugs have become a notorious threat in hospitals, where the bacteria can survive on surfaces for up to seven months. But a new discovery by scientists in Ireland could soon be working to combat them.

A research team led by Prof Suresh Pillai has developed a coating for everyday objects that prevents the spread of MRSA and E coli bacteria. The coating, which can be used on items such as smartphones, door handles and remote controls as well as surgical surfaces, has a 99.99% success rate in killing the bugs.

John Browne, the chief executive of Dublin-based company Kastus, which is working to commercialise the solution, says: “It is very hard to get rid of these things once they are there. Some studies have shown that with a deep clean on an [intensive care unit] ward where there is a critical care bed in one room … the entire room is cleaned with bleach over a 24-hour period and the bacteria are back on the surface within 24 hours.”

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research article here

The critical care nurse work environment, physician staffing, and risk for ventilator-associated pneumonia

Costa, D.K. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. Published online: 12 May 2016

11556-2We examined the relationship between intensivist physician staffing, nurse work environment, and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in 25 intensive care units. We found a significant interaction between the nurse work environment, intensivist physician staffing, and VAP. Future work may need to focus on fostering organizational collaboration between nursing and medicine to leverage skills of both clinician groups to reduce risk for VAP in critically ill patients.

Read the abstract here

Cardiac surgery, nosocomial infection, and the built environment

Sommerstein, R. et al.Journal of Hospital Infection. Published online: 10 May 2016

Heater‒cooler units (HCUs) have received considerable attention from an infection prevention viewpoint in the last two years, as their water reservoir has been linked to healthcare-associated outbreaks. Ten cases of Mycobacterium chimaera infection associated with contaminated HCUs have been described in the literature and the suspected transmission pathway by air was recently substantiated.2,3 Götting et al. now report on the difficulties of physically separating the HCU in order to divert contaminated HCU exhaust air from the surgical field and how they relied on non-fermenters as surrogate micro-organism ‒ despite their unknown significance.

Read the abstract here

Effectiveness of a multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy in the emergency department

Arntz, P.R.H. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. Published online: 6 May 2016



  • A total of 1,007 opportunities for handrubs were recorded in the emergency department. Hand hygiene (HH) compliance increased significantly (P < .001) after the first intervention week to 40.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 33%-48%) and stabilized (P = .075) after the second intervention week to 49.5% (95% CI, 43%-56%).
  • The total number of alcohol dispensers was increased from 25 to 55. Within every 5-m radius in the emergency department an alcohol dispenser was placed. Existing alcohol-based handrub was switched for a different brand for its proven skin friendliness.
  • Profession-specific analysis revealed a significant increase over the phases of the study in both subgroups, the physicians and nurses.
  • Regarding the frequency of hand hygiene indications, indication 4 (hand hygiene after touching a patient) composed most indications (31.6%). The increase of compliance applied for all indications; the highest and lowest relative improvements appeared to be indication 3, after contact with body fluids (700% of baseline), and indication 4, after patient contact (136% of baseline), respectively.
  • During the baseline observations, the effect of the time of day (day vs evening and week vs weekend) and the type of patient (surgical patients vs patients with infection vs others without infection) showed no significant effect on hand hygiene compliance.

Read the abstract here