Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS)

Policy topic

Pharmacist expertise and clinical knowledge must be fully utilised to ensure appropriate use of antibiotics and improve stewardship, in order to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The pharmacy contribution to antimicrobial stewardship document focuses on the pharmacist’s role as part of a multidisciplinary approach in tackling the challenges of inappropriate use of antibiotics. The recommendations in this policy have been produced in order to contribute to wider efforts in meeting the challenge set by the UK Government in 2016 of reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50% by 2020.

The policy, along with the AMS quick reference guide, aim to complement recommendations made by the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) in the global fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).


Key recommendations

Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) should be strengthened by:

  1. Pharmacist leadership in the development of all national and local action plans for AMS/AMR to ensure a robust evidence based approach to the use of antibiotics.
     
  2. Effective collaboration across the multidisciplinary team (MDT) in the implementation of AMS. Plans should maximise the expertise of pharmacists in medicines leadership to provide greater communication and coordination in the delivery of consistent approaches to AMS.
     
  3. Pharmacist access to the patient health record, including diagnostic results as well as up to date local formulary information. This will enable more informed clinical decisions, in partnership with patients and the multidisciplinary team regarding antibiotics, ensuring safe prescribing alongside the patients’ other medicines and health conditions.
     
  4. Increased public awareness of the support, advice and treatment available through pharmacy to ensure better use of NHS resources and investment in medicines.
     
  5. Commissioning of research into simple diagnostic testing, use of clinical scores and pathways in a community pharmacy setting, and its effects on appropriate antibiotic prescribing rates.
     
  6. Ongoing high quality education and training for pharmacists to keep up to date with the latest evidence base for antibiotics. This will ensure pharmacists are empowered to confidently contribute to prescribing decisions, patient counselling and advice regarding antibiotic use.
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