The work of the Infectious Diseases team at Wythenshawe Hospital in reducing deaths by tackling misuse of antifungals has been shortlisted for a new Government award.

The antifungal stewardship programme at the hospital has been developed over the past seven years to improve patient outcomes by updating and clarifying antifungal guidelines, involving and educating champions, implementing better diagnostics and by stopping unnecessary courses of expensive antifungal drugs.

Dr Riina Rautemaa-Richardson a Consultant Medical Mycologist and Dr Eavan Muldoon, a Consultant in Infectious Diseases jointly lead the small but highly effective team.

Dr Rautemaa-Richardson says: “Antifungal drug resistance is on the rise and is an emerging threat to patient management and clinical success. Yet, after many decades, the treatment choices are still limited. However, we have shown that you can stop using antifungals for almost 50 per cent of patients treated in the Intensive Care Unit safely when you use appropriate diagnostic tests. So, we are saving lives by starting early and saving money and reducing risk of resistance by stopping unnecessary courses.”

Antimicrobial Resistance arises when the micro-organisms that cause infection survive exposure to a medicine that would normally kill them or stop their growth.
Resistance is a natural biological phenomenon but is increased and accelerated by various factors such as both the misuse and appropriate use of medicines, and global trade and travel.

“This is a particular concern with antibiotics, but also applies to antifungals. Many of the medical advances in recent years, for example organ transplantation and cancer chemotherapy, need antimicrobials to prevent and treat the infections that can be caused by the treatment. Without effective antimicrobials even minor surgery and routine operations could become high risk procedures if serious infections cannot be treated”, Dr Rautemaa-Richardson adds.

The Antibiotic Guardian Awards 2016, which have been devised by Public Health England, will take place in Birmingham on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

For more information please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communications at The Goodwork Organisation on 07836 229208.