Implementation of an antimicrobial stewardship program in the Australian private hospital system: qualitative study of attitudes to antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial stewardship

Darshini Ayton, Eliza Watson, Juliana M. Betts, Joseph Doyle, Benjamin Teh, Glenn Valoppi, Menino Cotta, Megan Robertson, Trisha Peel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) is a key method to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In Australia, private hospitals have a higher rate of inappropriate prescribing and non-compliance with antimicrobial guidelines, yet this phenomenon is poorly described. Private hospitals make up 49% of hospitals in Australia, making it vital to understand AMS in this setting. Methods: This study aimed to explore capabilities, opportunities and motivations for AMR and AMS with stakeholders at an Australian private hospital, and identify barriers and enablers 5 years post-implementation of an AMS program comparing with pre-implementation findings. A mixed-methods study was performed, involving three focus groups with stakeholders. All doctors, nurses and pharmacists at the hospital were invited to complete a survey on their experiences with and awareness of AMR, AMS and antimicrobial prescribing. Results: Thirteen staff took part in the focus groups, 100 staff responded to the survey. Staff understood the importance of the AMS program, but active engagement was low. Staff felt more thorough feedback and monitoring could improve prescribing behaviour, but acknowledged difficulty in private hospitals in changing habits of staff who valued autonomy in making prescribing decisions. Half of respondents felt the current AMS restrictions should continue. Executive engagement may be needed to drive system changes across a complex network. Conclusion: AMS awareness increased post-implementation, but staff remained sceptical of its benefits. Engagement and education of medical consultants regarding local benefits of AMS must improve. Enhanced understanding of feedback provision, methods for engagement, and advocacy from leadership will ensure success and longevity for the program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1554
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Private healthcare facility
  • Program evaluation

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