News & Events

News & Events

The Surgical National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey: 2016 Report 
10th November 2017 

The results of the 2016 annual Surgical National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (SNAPS) were officially released on November 10th, 2017.

67 hospitals (public and private) participated during the data collection period between April and November 2016. 

4,507 surgical episodes were included, of which 93.2% involved an incisional procedure. Key findings from the 2016 SNAPS include: 
  • Antimicrobials – administered either immediately prior to or during the surgical procedure (procedural) – were prescribed in 2,641 surgical episodes (58.6%), with a total of 3,189 individual doses. 
  • Of these 43.4% had at least one inappropriate prescribing element. The most common element of inappropriate procedural antimicrobial prescribing was incorrect timing (n=481, 45.7%). 
  • Post-procedural prophylactic antimicrobials (antimicrobials prescribed following, but directly relating to, the procedure for the purposes of prophylaxis) were prescribed in 1,248 (27.7%) episodes.
  • Of these, 59.9% had at least one inappropriate prescribing element. The most common element of inappropriate post-procedural antimicrobial prescribing was that post-procedural prophylaxis was not required (n=503, 40.3%).
All Australian hospitals are encouraged to participate in the 2018 SNAPS. 

The Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey: 2016 Report 
26th October 2017 

The results of the 2016 annual aged  care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (acNAPS) were officially released on October 26th, 2017.

251 aged care homes participated during the data collection period between 27 June to 9 September 2016, representing all Australian states, provider types and remoteness classifications. 

Initial results include:
  • A high rate of use of antimicrobials for unconfirmed infections: almost one-third (32.4%) of antimicrobials were prescribed for residents who had no signs or symptoms of infection in the week prior to the antimicrobial start-date
  • Prescriptions did not meet the criteria for an infection: just over two-thirds (67.2%) of prescriptions were for residents who did not have signs or symptoms of infection.
  • Duration of prescriptions: almost one-quarter (23%) of antimicrobials had been administered for longer than six months.
  • Widespread use of topical antimicrobials: accounting for just over one-quarter (26.9%) of prescriptions.
  • Incomplete documentation: the antimicrobial start-date was unknown for 3.2% of antimicrobials administered, while the indication for the antimicrobial was not documented for 22.1% of antimicrobials administered, and the review- or stop-date was not documented for 49.9% of antimicrobials administered.
The summary of the preliminary results of the 2017 acNAPS has now also been distributed to participating homes to assist with local quality improvement activities. 

20th to 21st October, Peter Doherty Institute, Melbourne

NCAS in collaboration with the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) is offering a 2 day course aiming to give practical advice on how to run an infection control and antimicrobial stewardship service. There will be tips and guidelines on how to deal with tricky situations and interactive panel discussions of real life scenarios, dealing with the day-to-day problems and challenges faced by doctors. Panels will consist of experienced infectious diseases physicians, microbiologists and infection control practitioners.

Who should attend
  • Advanced trainees in infectious diseases and microbiology
  • Infectious diseases physicians
  • Microbiologists
  • Any doctor with responsibilities for infection control or antimicrobial stewardship

An Introduction to Infection Control & Antimicrobial Stewardship Course
20th October 2017 

Program More information & registration

Publication: Human resources estimates and funding for antibiotic stewardship teams are urgently needed
9th August 2017 

Media Release
Hospitals and communities urgently need to fund teams of specialist health workers to help slow the worldwide rise of drug-resistant infections, researchers say. 

In an expert commentary published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection, researchers from 11 countries have called for global investment to ensure that programs to improve the use of antibiotics – known as antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) – are properly funded and supported, in and outside hospitals. 

The paper’s Australian co-author, Professor Karin Thursky, Director of the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS), an NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence based at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, said specialist teams provide expert guidance to prescribers and healthcare providers, and monitor antimicrobial use and resistance.

Professor Thursky said Australia had made major progress in the field of AMS – especially since AMS was enshrined in hospital accreditation standards in 2013 – as documented in last Thursday’s AURA 2017 report by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in healthcare. But she said hospitals and other healthcare providers need to invest in staff to effectively control infections and manage medication. Read more about the Australian context here. 

Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia 2017 Report
3rd August 2017 

More Information
Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia 2017: Second Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health was launched at an event at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital on 3 August 2017 by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. 

AURA 2017 provides an overview of the results of various programs dedicated to surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance in Australia, including NCAS' Hospital National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS) and the Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (acNAPS) programs. 

It contains valuable data on antimicrobial use in the community and hospitals, identifies key emerging issues for antimicrobial resistance, and gives a detailed overview of Australia’s first National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistances (CARAlert). 

The report draws on findings that indicate that antibiotic use has been falling in Australian hospitals, a shift that will help to slow the spread of resistance. However, there are still concerning levels of inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in hospitals and the community.

National Antimicrobial Resistance Forum
2nd to 3rd November 2017 

More Information & Registration
The forum will bring together groups from varying scientific disciplines, including medicine, veterinary science, nursing, the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry. It will reflect on the ambitions to respond to the challenges of antimicrobial resistance with a unified One Health approach.

The scientific meeting is a collaboration between Queensland Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, CRE REDUCE, the University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Queensland University of Technology.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Forum will be held in Brisbane over Thursday November 2 and Friday November 3, 2017. The conference will be held at the Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence L4, 20 Cornwall St Woolloongabba, QLD.

Exciting international and national speakers will be announced very soon, but for now please register.

Effective action on antimicrobial resistance in Australia

The problem of antibiotic resistance is one of the foremost issues that will affect health care worldwide, including Australia, in the coming decades. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified antimicrobial resistance as one of three greatest threats to human health, jeopardising patient safety and public health. A high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance was held on 21 September 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly to accelerate global commitments and enhance national multi-sectoral efforts to combat this threat. The Executive Councils of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) and the Australian Society for Antimicrobials (ASA) strongly believe that there is a requirement for a debate within Australia on what actions need to be taken to address the issue in the coming years, and have organised a ‘Summit on Antimicrobial Resistance’ to be held in Melbourne on 29 June 2017.

The Summit will run directly after the Communicable Diseases Control Conference 26-28 June, Melbourne.

Antimicrobial Resistance Summit
29th June 2017 

More Information & Registration

European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 
 22-25th April 2017, Vienna, Austria 

The BMJ International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare 
 26-28th April 2017, London, UK 

NCAS Fellows and Guidance Staff presentations

Clockwise: Courtney Ierano's poster presentation at the BMJ Forum - 'Evaluating the implementability of antibiotic surgical prophylaxis guidelines - a work in progress'; Courtney Ierano, Ngan-Ha Truong and Karen Urbancic at ECCMID; Dr. Noleen Bennett's poster presentation at the BMJ Forum - 'The Australian Aged-Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey: an update'; Courtney Ierano's poster presentation at the BMJ Forum - 'Development of a national audit tool for surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis prescribing'; and Karen Urbancic's poster presentation at ECCMID - 'Utility of diarrhoea as a predictor of low posaconazole exposure with the oral tablet formulation'. 

Professor David Patrick
21st February 2017 

'Responding to Antimicrobial Resistance in the True North: Better Late than Never!'

Professor David Patrick is affiliated with the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, Canada, as well as the BC Centre for Disease Control. Trained in infectious diseases and epidemiology, Professor Patrick’s research interests centre on interdisciplinary approaches to managing emerging infectious diseases including: the development and evaluation of programs to control antimicrobial misuse and curb antibiotic resistance; and linking clinical, epidemiological and genomic sciences to explore aetiology of idiopathic chronic diseases. 

Note: this is a special NCAS seminar starting at 9:00 am

The Hospital National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey: 2015 Report 
17th January 2017 

The results from the 2015/2016 annual hospital National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS) were officially released on January 17th, 2017.

281 hospitals participated (213 public and 68 private) during the data collection period between September 2015 to February 2016, representing all Australian states, territories and remoteness classifications. 

Initial results demonstrated that for antimicrobial prescriptions:
  • 72.5% had an indication documented
  • 35.5% has a review or stop date documented
  • 23.3% were non-compliant with prescribing guidelines
  • 27.4% of the surgical prophylaxis prescriptions continued beyond 24 hours
The most common antimicrobials prescribed were:
  • cefazolin - 13.6%
  • ceftriaxone - 9.0%
  • metronidazole - 6.5%
  • amoxicillin–clavulanate - 6.3%
  • piperacillin–tazobactam - 6.3%
The most common indications for prescribing antimicrobials were: 
  • surgical prophylaxis - 15.5%
  • community-acquired pneumonia - 10.5%
  • medical prophylaxis - 7.6%
  • sepsis 5.7% 
  • urinary tract infection - 5.0%
Areas highlighted for quality improvement include documentation of review or stop dates and indications for antimicrobial prescriptions and the ongoing high proportion of prolonged and non-compliant surgical prophylaxis prescriptions.

Ongoing medication shortages
 13th December 2016 

There is currently an Australia-wide shortage of various antimicrobials, including intravenous acyclovir, vancomycin and metronidazole. Meropenem has also been flagged a medication that is in low supply and should be used sparingly. There is no indication as to when these medications will again become readily available. This was recently highlighted in the Australian media. 

The use of these vital medications should be reserved for those situations where there is a clear need for the antimicrobial over other available therapies. Prescriptions should be discontinued as soon as possible based on clinical indication and status of the patient, with daily monitoring of the need for ongoing therapy.

Fact Sheets regarding these medication shortages, outlining patient management and the possible use of alternative antimicrobials, are available from the link below.
Fact Sheets

NCAS Annual Forum
9th November 2016 

The NCAS Annual Forum 2016 was held at the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, 792 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

The aim of the day was to bring AMS stakeholders together to network, discuss and hear about the latest developments in human and animal AMS, both locally and internationally.

The day commenced with presentations by the Director of NCAS, Professor Karin Thursky, the Deputy Director of NCAS, A/Professor Kirsty Buising, and many of the NCAS Chief Investigators. 

The afternoon session highlighted the original research being undertaken by NCAS PhD students. The program and webinar recordings of both the morning and afternoon sessions are available to view below. 

View Webinar Recordings

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