The NHS in North West London tackles antibiotics use with social media campaign

NHS NW London has joined the fight against antibiotics resistance with the launch of a social media campaign this Antibiotics Awareness Week, from 12 – 16 November

NHS NW London has joined the fight against antibiotics resistance with the launch of a social media campaign this Antibiotics Awareness Week, from 12 – 16 November.

NW London pharmacist and antibiotic guardian Vaishali Patel will be addressing some of the key issues and questions people ask through online videos and will also be taking questions from the public on twitter all week @HealthierNWL.

The activity follows the launch of the national ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign running across print and TV advertising which highlights how more than 3 million common surgical procedures such as caesarean sections and hip replacements could become life-threatening in the future, as infections related to surgery could double. This would put people at risk of dangerous complications. The campaign is an important reminder for the public of the importance of taking their healthcare professional’s advice.

“Over 100,000 prescriptions were prescribed across NW London in the last 12 months. We want to make sure people are taking antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and that means giving people the necessary information”, says Vaishali, who will be discussing when people should and shouldn’t be taking antibiotics, the difference between side effects and an allergy, and when it is important to consult with a GP if you’re unwell.

Despite the risks of antibiotic resistance, research shows that 38% of people still expect an antibiotic from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre or ‘GP extended service appointment when visiting with a cough, flu or a throat, ear, sinus or chest infection last year. While antibiotics are essential to treating serious bacterial infections such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, they are frequently used where not necessary to treat more minor ailments.

“GPs are already doing an excellent job of reducing antibiotic prescriptions”, says Dr Neville Purssell, Chair of Central London CCG, “but we often come under considerable pressure from patients to prescribe them. Hopefully public awareness campaigns will support patients to feel confident to take their doctor’s advice when it seems that antibiotics are not the most appropriate course of action.”

Vaishali will be posting online and taking questions from 12-16 November, follow the conversation @HealthierNWL.


  1. Pharmacist Vaishali Patel is part of the Medicines Management Team for the North West London Collaboration of CCGs. She has recently presented on issues related to broad spectrum antibiotic prescribing to GP’s across the borough​ of Hammersmith & Fulham.
  2. Figures taken from Public Health England.
  3. @HealthierNWL is the twitter account for North West London CCGs. CCGs are GP-led organisations responsible for planning and buying (commissioning) health services for the people living across NW London.
  4. World Antibiotics awareness week #WAAW - Each November, World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance (Antimicrobial resistance AMR) and to encourage best practice amongst the general public, health workers and policy makers, to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
  5. Keep antibiotics working - On 23 October 2018 Public Health England (PHE) relaunched the national campaign across England to support the government’s efforts to reduce inappropriate prescriptions for antibiotics by raising awareness of the issue of antibiotic resistance and reducing demand from the public.
  6. #AskYourPharmacist - The National Pharmacy Association's Ask Your Pharmacist campaign aims to raise awareness of the services available in community pharmacies across the UK.