Antimicrobial stewardship

Preserve the miracle of antibiotics – “No action today, no cure tomorrow”
World Health Organization

An effective approach to improving antimicrobial use in hospitals is an organised antimicrobial management program – known as Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS).

Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidance Document (PDF 382KB)

State Medicines Formulary Policy (MP0077/18)

The purpose of this policy is to ensure both individual patients and the community benefit from appropriate antibiotic use. AMS involves a systematic approach to optimising the use of antimicrobials.

Hospitals and health services must have an AMS Program in place in accordance with the criteria stipulated in Standard 3.15 and 3.16 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (second edition). AMS involves establishing governance through an AMS Committee, limiting a selection of available antimicrobials for use to minimise the development of resistant organisms, an approval process to review the use of restricted antimicrobials, a monitoring and surveillance process and consultancy to advise the development of local antimicrobial prescribing policies.

Read more on the NSQHS standards (external site).

AMS involves a systematic approach to optimising the use of antimicrobials.

It is used by healthcare institutions to:

  • reduce inappropriate antimicrobial use
  • improve patient outcomes
  • reduce adverse consequences of antimicrobial use (including antimicrobial resistance, toxicity and unnecessary costs).

Effective hospital AMS programs have been shown to decrease antimicrobial use and improve patient care.

Along with infection control, hand hygiene and surveillance, AMS is considered a key strategy in local and national programs to prevent the emergence of antimicrobial resistance and decrease preventable healthcare associated infection.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare has provided useful guidance on Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Hospitals (external site).

More information

Medicines and Technology Unit
Address: 3 Forrest Place, Perth

Western Australian Committee for Antimicrobials (external site)

Produced by

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality