“There was agreement across prescriber groups that joint action on antimicrobial resistance is needed but they tend to see the role of others as having a greater responsibility,” says Professor Dale Dominey Howes of the University of Sydney, who led the research published in today's BMJ Open.
“On the plus side, prescribers are quite knowledgeable about antimicrobial resistance and are aware of its connections between human, animal and environmental ecosystems.”
Prescribers are quite knowledgeable about antimicrobial resistance and are aware of its connections between human, animal and environmental ecosystems.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has developed through the overuse and misuse of antibiotics so that bacterial infections that were once easily cured with antibiotics are becoming harder to treat.
It threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
This matters because AMR is a significant challenge for the delivery of safe, high-quality healthcare, and has a direct impact on patient care and health outcomes.
In 2014, nearly half of all Australians were prescribed antimicrobials and the threat of antimicrobial resistance has the potential to affect every individual.
The survey of 1330 doctors, dentists and veterinarians was broadly representative of each national workforce and identified many common and context-specific barriers to better prescribing practices by clinicians.
For example, factors rated as “somewhat” of a barrier that were common across professions included:
“These common barriers indicate broader challenges across professions and settings,” says co-author, Associate Professor Maurizio Labbate of the University of Technology, Sydney.
“These highlight the need for greater public awareness of antimicrobial resistance and a need to reduce diagnostic uncertainty by developing faster and more accessible diagnostic tests to limit the need for risk averse strategies such as prescribing unnecessarily, or ‘just in case’”.