Australia’s model of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) has evolved significantly over recent years, from a long-standing national approach of antimicrobial prescribing guidelines and antimicrobial prescribing restrictions to recent advances including the first National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and incorporating mandatory AMS as part of hospital accreditation standards. AMS programs are most commonly found in the hospital setting. Various models are used throughout the country based on the local context and resources available. Programs implemented at Alfred Health and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital represent two successful models in tertiary referral settings that accommodate a general ward setting as well as specialized areas with a high infection burden. Measurement of outcomes related to AMS activities remains poorly standardized, with process indicators such as antimicrobial utilization forming a large proportion of outcome measurement. Presently there is no requirement for any AMS outcome measurements to be reported externally. Point prevalence surveys of appropriateness of prescribing and compliance with prescribing guidelines are widely used at a national level. Despite this, there is still a paucity of published Australian data to support the effect of AMS on patient clinical outcomes. Private hospitals, the community, veterinary medicine and aged care sectors represent an important area for future AMS expansion within Australia. The AMS focus has traditionally been on prescribing restrictions (through the Commonwealth funding agencies); however, recent work has described other areas for improvement and development in both settings. AMS in Australia continues to evolve. The recent development of an Australian strategic plan to link antimicrobial utilization and resistance surveillance with policy represents an important step forward for the future of AMS in Australia.
- Antimicrobial stewardship
- Infection prevention and control