Within the UK, we have been campaigning on the importance of investing in oral disease prevention and tackling the system-level barriers to support a reduction in unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. Members of our Health and Science Committee were instrumental in NHS England’s minimum standard for Urgent Dental Care treatment slots being increased from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. This change will support the provision of effective and timely diagnosis and treatment to patients with acute dental pain and infection, although patient access and the lack of appropriately funded urgent treatment time remain major challenges.
We have actively engaged with the UK Department of Health and Social Care on the development of their upcoming AMR National Action Plan for 2024 – 2029, encouraging the inclusion of stewardship training and advocating for the inclusion of dentistry. Internationally, we play a key role in the stewardship work of the Council of European Dentists and World Dental Federation. Chaired by Dr Wendy Thompson, a member of our Health and Science Committee, the Prevention AMR and Infections Working Group developed an Antibiotic Stewardship Core Outcome Set (COS), which sets out an agreed international standard to be used in studies about dental antibiotic stewardship, representing the minimum set of outcomes to be reported.
There are also new government resources that may be useful in your practice. The AMR: Start Smart Then Focus Toolkit for inpatient care settings provides an outline of evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship and supports adherence to the Code of Practice for organisations in England. The updated antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship competencies framework also contains 103 descriptors relating to necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes for prescribers. The framework should be used by all prescribers of antimicrobials across different care settings to support the development of their prescribing practice.
On Thursday 23 November we will be holding an evening webinar on antibiotics and toothache which all members of the dental team are able to sign up for. The webinar is aimed at helping dental teams reflect on how they can help to keep their patients safe from infection and prescribe antibiotics appropriately. It will also help to facilitate the Health and Social Care Act’s code of practice recommendation on antimicrobial stewardship.