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Employers asked to provide their staff with more training on responsible antibiotic use
19 April 2017
Health Education England (HEE) is calling on employers and healthcare providers to do more to make sure their staff are well-trained in how to combat antimicrobial resistance, in a report launched today.
The Health and Social Care Act (2008) states that employers should ensure that all their staff who prescribe medicines should be given induction and training in responsible antimicrobial use and are familiar with the antimicrobial resistance and stewardship competencies. However, according to the survey, Combating antimicrobial resistance: educational approaches for the responsible prescribing of antimicrobials, published today, not all employers and providers are currently delivering on this.
A survey conducted by Health Education England found that:
- half of the CCGs and NHS trusts/organisations who responded to the survey said they provided training covering mandatory core requirements for prudent antibiotic use, in addition to introductory sessions on each induction to all prescribers (both medical – doctors and dentists – and non-medical – those professions like nurses and pharmacists who are able to independently prescribe).
- less than half of CCGs and trusts who responded said they provided this to medical prescribers only, and fewer said that they extended this training to cover groups of staff such as pharmacists, all clinical staff, all staff, nurses or all allied health professionals.
- less than half of CCGs and NHS trusts/organisations responding were able to confirm that prescribers within their organisations were familiar with and/or provide training that covers the PHE/ARHAI antimicrobial resistance and stewardship competencies.
In response, Health Education England has asked all employers and providers to ensure that mandatory training in prudent antibiotic use is provided to all prescribers as part of their induction and on-going continuing personal development, as outlined in the national guidance.
Employers and healthcare providers are also encouraged to implement mandatory staff training policies for combating antimicrobial resistance in areas, where there is poor compliance with local antibiotic policies and national guidance.
The report, 'Combating antimicrobial resistance: educational approaches for the responsible prescribing of antimicrobials', also sets out a number of recommendations for both Health Education England as a body and for others across the system, including:
- employers and healthcare providers should consider the role of an antimicrobial resistance education strategy that sets out the training requirements for staff based on national recommendations, and also includes monitoring and reporting arrangements.
- employers and healthcare providers should ensure that antimicrobial resistance awareness is included as part of mandatory infection prevention and control training targeted for all staff on induction and at every update. Staff should be encouraged to sign up as antibiotic guardians during these sessions.
- employers and healthcare providers should consider organising targeted awareness training sessions for management and executive teams, for example, senior clinicians and clinical directors on antimicrobial resistance leadership and training.
The recommendations directed at Health Education England will be taken forward over the coming months. These include the creation of an educational package for management and executive teams and improving information sharing about existing educational resources. We will also work with practice educators and others to better understand what types of educational interventions are likely to lead to changes in behaviour in relation to the prescribing of antibiotics.
Commenting, Ged Byrne, Director of Education and Quality, Health Education England working across the North, said
“Although antimicrobial resistance cannot be eliminated, we can work together to limit its risk to the public and minimise its impact. As part of this, it is crucial that prescribers have the right knowledge and skills, to ensure that prescribing interventions are safe and that they deliver the best outcomes for their patients.
We ask employers to take note of this report and take forward actions to place more training to ensure their staff are well-trained in how to combat antimicrobial resistance. This report is an important milestone in achieving this goal, and we look forward to taking the recommendations forward, to help manage and reduce the risks of antimicrobial resistance.”
You can view the report and executive summary on our website.