Anyone who's ever met me will confirm I could talk about politics all day and even manage to twist the most mundane of subjects into a debate with the Labour party getting a mention. Unfortunately in my travels and constant interaction with other medical professionals, that enthusiasm is very rarely matched. A status quo which affects the lives of all those in the medical field and even the very patients we live to serve.
The reason I believe each and everyone of us should be involved in politics is not only to protect our profession from recent trends such as the junior doctor contract fiasco, budget cuts in primary health or even A&E closures around the country but rather as a means of combating disease and promoting health. In this age of globalisation diseases do not recognise any national borders nor are the discriminatory; they affect us all the same.
The perfect example of this is antibiotic resistance. A blight on the medical profession that we ourselves are to blame for and unless we partake in politics and attempt to treat it on a global scale we will lose this war and our future generations will curse us. That we stood idly by whilst the greatest medical threat waged a battle on humanity itself but we ignored it.
Antibiotic resistance has been around for 1000s of years before we even started using them but in recent years the problem has become more widespread. The primary cause is the over use of the drugs especially when they are not needed. Other causes include the over feeding of antibiotics to animals and inadequate waste water treatment. None of these problems can be solved in its entirety with patient interaction but rather government involvement is needed.
The reason many antibiotics are abused is that they are readily available from pharmacies without prescription in the majority of the world, unlike in the United Kingdom where they are only dispensed with a prescription from a licensed doctor thus can be monitored. From personal experience in countries in which I have lived antibiotic abuse is endemic where patients self prescribe antibiotics for conditions where they are uncalled for and do not follow a proper regimen to ensure they encounter no resistance.
This system can be blamed on multiple people such as the government, pharmaceutical companies and stores selling antibiotics, each with their own agenda but without joining politics or at the least lobbying our politicians we will never change the system which at the moment is stacked against us.
Antibiotic resistance is a complex topic one that I could go on and on about and still reach no conclusion. The time for talking is over and it is up to us, all health professionals to take a stand and fight back. As the famous quote goes "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."