Combatting overuse of antibiotics wins Bucks Specialist Pharmacist coveted place on 2021 Women to Watch List

Date: 15/12/2021 | Category: News 2021

Claire Brandish, Specialist Pharmacist in Antimicrobials at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, has just been named one of the Pharmaceutical Journal’s Women to Watch 2021.

The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they are becoming less effective and this has led to the emergence of “superbugs”. These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics. Both the NHS and health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics when there is no benefit to be gained in taking them and patients could risk experiencing side-effects.

According to the Pharmaceutical Journal, Claire has “revolutionised the impact of antimicrobial stewardship at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust”, by leading on a safe and ambitious programme to radically reduce the number of patients unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics. As a result, the number of patients who had their antibiotics stopped rose from 65 in 2017/2018 to 312 in 2020/2021.

After just one year, Claire tripled the Trust’s return on investment, saving more than £365,000 on antibiotics in 2018/2019 and delivered on the national NHS target for antibiotic consumption. Claire and her team achieved this by increasing the number of pharmacy-led ward rounds they conducted, from 39 in 2017/18 to 1,566 in 202/21.

Claire’s influence extends internationally. In 2018, she began sharing antimicrobial stewardship and hand hygiene best practice with a multi-disciplinary, one-health team in Wakiso, Uganda, as part of the ‘Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Global Fellowship’ scheme and Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship scheme.

More recently, Claire led the whole team in being redeployed to work in intensive care during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. She took it as an opportunity to forge better links with the intensive care and respiratory teams.

Jayne Ballinger, Chief Pharmacist at the Trust, said: “No matter what work or life demands of her, Claire rolls her sleeves up and will be the first in line to help resolve a problem, bringing humour and grit and getting to the end of the day and congratulating everyone else.”