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Tackling antimicrobial resistance by harmonising paediatric antibiotic prescribing guidelines

Paediatric antibiotic prescribing guideline coverResistance to antimicrobials threatens the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi in our most vulnerable patients. This guideline, an essential part of an antimicrobial stewardship programme, aims to help reduce antimicrobial resistance by ensuring appropriate prescription and administration of empiric antibiotics.

The Oxford AHSN has a geographical footprint that includes five hospitals with paediatric inpatients, providing an opportunity for the Children’s Clinical Network to work with paediatricians, pharmacists and microbiologists across the region to harmonise local prescribing guidelines.

The aim is to benefit patients and hospitals by encouraging responsible and thoughtful antimicrobial prescribing.

How the guideline was developed

We asked microbiologists in each hospital to analyse local resistance patterns and reviewed the results across the region to identify patterns that might preclude harmonisation. Once feasibility was confirmed, we conducted a gap analysis of the five hospitals’ antibiotic guidelines to identify differences in prescribing practices.

We then brought together pharmacists, paediatricians and microbiologists from each hospital and reached agreement on the optimum prescribing practice for those areas where differences existed. Subsequent minor amendments were agreed and the revised guideline has now been adopted by each hospital.

Extending antibiotic prescribing harmonisation across other regions

Part of the rationale of sharing this guideline is to encourage the adoption of similar initiatives beyond the Oxford AHSN region. This guideline can be used in its entirety or its methodology applied to bring about a similar outcome in other locations.

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