Increased education may improve awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), however 43% of people aged 16-65 in England lack skills to understand health information.This study aimed to improve patient knowledge on short course antibiotics using a patient information leaflet (PIL) incorporating Health Literacy (HL) techniques supporting the Governments’ 5 year 2019 AMR strategy.


This study received ethics approval. A revised Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) checklist for Community Pharmacy PIL incorporating HL techniques was piloted, then used for 5-weeks as a counselling tool by 8 consenting community pharmacists. It was handed to patients during dispensing of short-course antibiotics, after which the pharmacists filled out a questionnaire. Patients receiving counselling using the PIL completed face to face questionnaires.


106 patient questionnaires were completed.

94% of patients had taken antibiotics previously and 90% of these thought the counselling received using the PIL was easier to understand than previous counselling.

96% of patients agreed the PIL improved their knowledge on appropriate antibiotic use. 81% of patients intended to change their behaviour and thought the PIL had improved their antibiotic knowledge especially to “always finish a prescribed course of antibiotics”. All patients stated the PIL was easy to follow.


This pilot suggests that patient behaviour can be influenced using structured counselling on AMR drawing on HL techniques.


1 Rowlands G, Protheroe J, et al. A mismatch between population health literacy and the complexity of health information: an observational study. British Journal of General Practice. 2015;65(635):e379-e386.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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