Call for Sandwell and West Birmingham residents to take the pledge and keep antibiotics working

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Sandwell and West Birmingham residents are being urged to make a pledge to become an Antibiotic Guardian and play their part in ensuring that life-saving medicines can remain effective for longer. Everyone can take the pledge at

The plea comes from NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) during World Antibiotics Week which takes place until 24 November 2019.

Both the NHS and health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for health problems that are not serious.

The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they're becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of "superbugs". These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics, including:

  • MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • the bacteria that cause multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis

Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work.

Dr Ian Sykes, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:
“By making a pledge everyone can help slow resistance to antibiotics, one of the biggest threats facing us today. It’s also important that patients always follow the advice of doctors, nurses, pharmacists or other health professionals as to when they need antibiotics and, if they are prescribed, take antibiotics as directed and never save them for later use or share them with others.”

Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections by killing or preventing the spread of that infection. They are only prescribed when:

  • conditions are unlikely to clear up without them
  • the condition could spread to others
  • antibiotics could significantly speed up recovery
  • the illness is serious.

Antibiotics are not prescribed for viral infections such as colds or flu because they are not effective in fighting these types of illnesses. Viral infections can be treated with a combination of self-care and over the counter medicines.
For more information about World Antibiotics Week visit