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Johnson aims to boost pharmacists

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Every hospital trust in England will be able to recruit an extra antimicrobial pharmacist under plans to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson made the claim as he elaborated on proposals to pump £270m into pathogen control.

He said up to £45m could be spent on specialist staff, which will pay for the pharmacist, two infection control nurses, and two isolation nurses.

And he added that from next month, the Government will campaign to reduce the use of antibiotics across the health service.

Mr Johnson said a rise in antibiotic-resistant infections, and other factors, mean “prudent prescribing is required”.

“Patients have my assurance that the Government will not take its foot off the pedal, and will continue to do all we can to tackle infection,” he said.

The Health Secretary concluded: “The past 60 years have seen great advances in healthcare and medicine.

“For example, the use of antibiotics have saved countless lives, but antibiotics do not work on most coughs, colds, and sore throats, and their unnecessary use can leave the body susceptible to gut infections like Clostridium difficile.

“The new pharmacists that trusts will be able to recruit will be key to ensuring proper antibiotic prescribing on wards.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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