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November 18, 2019 – Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest rate of antibiotic utilization in the country. Overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of resistant, hard-to-treat infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that antibiotic resistance is a global issue that poses a major public health risk and as such, has declared November 18-24 World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019.
Quality of Care NL is helping to spread the word about antibiotic resistance locally by hosting the Antibiotics FutureForum in St. John’s on November 20th. The FutureForum is designed as a discussion among health care leaders, medical experts, patients, and the public about what antibiotic resistance is and how we are already seeing the impacts of it here at home.
Quality of Care NL will welcome Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, the Honourable Dr. John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, Dr. Peter Daley, Infectious Disease Specialist, and Drs Wade Locke and Lynn Gambin, Memorial University Economists, along with patients and other health care providers, to discuss the roles we all play in reducing antibiotic overuse.
Since 2016, Quality of Care NL has been working in partnership with Choosing Wisely Canada to promote guidelines and recommendations on the appropriate use of antibiotics, including an annual public awareness campaign about the potential harms of overuse, and providing personal ordering data to physicians and nurse practitioners on their antibiotic prescribing patterns.
These efforts seem to be paying off. Quality of Care NL is analyzing data from the Pharmacy Network, which represents all antibiotic prescriptions in communities across the province. In 2018/19, there was a 5.2% reduction of all oral antibiotic prescriptions over the previous year. In fact, the latest data shows a decrease across the board. Family physicians (including some emergency department physicians), nurse practitioners and dentists in the province all showed decreases in the number of antibiotics they prescribed in the last year.
“We are happy to see our antibiotic prescribing rates decreasing throughout the province, however we still have a long road ahead of us as the highest prescribers in Canada,” says infectious diseases physician, Dr. Peter Daley. “We look forward to welcoming the community, as well as Dr. Tam, Minister Haggie and others, to discuss antibiotic resistance and the roles each of us play in reducing our use of antibiotics.”
Quality of Care NL works to improve the quality of care patients receive in our province by facilitating change to ensure that the right treatment, gets to the right patient, at the right time. Quality of Care NL is proud to partner with Choosing Wisely Canada to enable the promotion of established national guidelines and recommendations that cross all disciplines to support the reduction of low-value health care, including unnecessary tests and treatments, particularly where harms outweigh benefits. This work is carried out by Quality of Care NL on behalf of Choosing Wisely NL.
Quality of Care NL