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New HIQA guide on reviews of antimicrobial stewardship

In line with HIQA’s responsibility for monitoring compliance against the National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections, it has developed an inspection programme focused specifically on antimicrobial stewardship in public acute hospitals.

The inspection programme will consist of two parts, namely a process of self-assessment followed by announced inspections in a selection of hospitals.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a challenge affecting the entire health service. After a period of time, resistance emerges in antibiotic use,” said HIQA Director of Regulation, Ms Mary Dunnion. “Antimicrobial stewardship acts to combat this resistance by ensuring the value of antimicrobial agents currently in use is preserved for as long as possible through careful and expert usage.”

All 49 public acute hospitals in the country will be expected to complete a self-assessment and submit it to the Authority. Hospitals should have a wide programme of infection prevention and control already in place.

HIQA will then carry out announced inspections in 14 of the 49 hospitals to verify results and gain an understanding of how antimicrobial stewardship is conducted in various settings. These actions will inform HIQA’s review of antimicrobial stewardship in 2015.

Ms Dunnion said: “It’s important to ensure that every patient receives the right antimicrobial therapy, at the right dose, route and duration, for the right infection type at the right time. This review intends to identify and share good practice, and identify opportunity for improvement where it exists for the benefit of collective improvement across the system.”

The review findings will be made publicly available and published on the Authority’s website, with an anticipated publication date of Q1 2016.

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