British farming bodies have been hailed for their work to reduce antibiotic usage in the industry at the Antibiotic Guardian awards ceremony on Wednesday.

The third Antibiotic Guardian awards which took place on June 27 honouring the work of healthcare professionals and industry organisations across England in tackling antimicrobial resistance.

The evening, which was organised by Public Health England, included chief medical officer for England, Dame Prof. Sally Davies as guest speaker.

The awards were jointly presented by the Dr. Diane Ashiru-Oredope, lead for the Antibiotic Guardian campaign and lead pharmacist for the AMR Programme at Public Health England; Dr. Susan Hopkin, deputy director, National Infections Service; and Dr. Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for England.

Bristol Veterinary School

Agriculture and Food category winner - Bristol Veterinary School - had worked to change vets' prescribing practices.

The school stopped using antimicrobials of the highest importance to human health on client farms of the Langford Farm Animal Practice - something it says had no reduction in animal health, welfare or productivity.

The school has also worked with and trained veterinarians across the country through the British Cattle Veterinary Association to do the same, including veterinarians at Friars Moor Veterinary Clinic, who as a result also stopped prescribing critically-important antimicrobials at their large commercial practice.

The school has also recently begun a £1.75 million, four-year project to investigate the use of diagnostics by livestock veterinarians and farmers in order to refine the use of antimicrobials in farmed animals.

The British Poultry Council and Wayland Farms were named as runners-up in the category.

RUMA

It was also a good night for RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance) winning both the Community Communications category and the Prescribing and Stewardship section.

RUMA’s #ColostrumIsGold campaign shared the message that better colostrum management can reduce the need for antibiotics.

Messages were developed to give farmers and stock-people ‘colostrum facts’. For example, that colostrum fed correctly can reduce or even eliminate the need for antibiotic treatments in the new-born or older animal.

Over Twitter was very successful, resulting in 1,953 total tweets with a potential reach of 818,000 and 5.5 million potential impressions.

Other campaigns concentrated on the specific ‘hot spot’ concern areas for antibiotic usage as highlighted by the RUMA Sheep Target Task Force – namely, antibiotic use in the control of neonatal lamb diseases, and in the control of lameness and in the prevention of abortion.

The body worked with both vets and farmers to get its message across.

Capital and Coast DHB, Wellington, New Zealand and Commonwealth Pharmacists Association were both awarded highly commended in the Community Communications category.

West Hertfordshire NHS Trust was highly commended and commended: ABP UK and NHS Tayside both commended in the Prescribing and Stewardship category.