First Australian Report on Antimicrobial use and resistance in human health

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has published a summary and a full report on Antimicrobial use and resistance in human health.

On any given day in 2014, around 38% of patients in Australian hospitals were receiving antimicrobial therapy. Around 23% of these prescriptions were considered inappropriate, and around 24% were noncompliant with guidelines.

Prescriptions for surgical prophylaxis are a significant concern – this indication is the most common reason for prescribing antimicrobials in hospitals (13.1% of all prescriptions), but also has the highest proportion of inappropriate use (40.2% of prescriptions were deemed to be inappropriate).

Antimicrobial prescribing is high in the community, with 46% of Australians being dispensed at least one antimicrobial in 2014. High volumes of antimicrobials are prescribed unnecessarily for upper respiratory tract infections.

In residential aged care facilities, 11.3% of the residents were on antimicrobials, but only 4.5% had a suspected or confirmed infection. Antimicrobials are sometimes used unnecessarily in residential aged care facilities for urinary tract infections, and unspecified skin and soft tissue infections.

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