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County Durham and Darlington has an extensive Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP) with close working relationships between Pharmacists, Microbiologists, the Infection Control Team, Consultants and Senior Managers/Executives. The Antimicrobial Pharmacy team has supported the implemention and development of the ASP since 2008 and during this time the team and their roles have expanded significantly. The Trust has a significant track record in reducing hospital acquired infections since the introduction of the ASP and the Pharmacy staff have played a key role in this.

As antibiotic resistance continues to be a major threat to health, the Trust's Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme (ASP) aims to tackle this by:

  • Optimise antimicrobial therapy
  • Limit inappropriate antimicrobial use
  • Optimise selection, dose, route and duration
  • Reduce unintended consequences
  • Support the reduction of rates of C difficile and MRSA

To support the aims of the ASP, the departmental team of pharmacists and technicians have developed an extensive antibiotic formulary, which is reviewed regularly with support from consultants, nurses and pharmacists. This Formulary is available via the Trust intranet and will soon be available as a Smartphone App to further improve ease of access. Pharmacists support the ASP with regular ward visits, attendance on the consultant microbiologist ward round and an extensive audit program. These audits are carried out on each of the Trust sites and review the choice and duration of an antibiotic and whether this in accordance with the Antibiotic Formulary. Results are regularly fed back to senior nurses, consultants and prescribers as well as to the Executive Board for discussion.

The pharmacy team also continually monitor our overall usage of antimicrobials and highlight any changes in use, which may warrant investigation/action. As a team we aim to work closely with primary care colleagues to further reduce healthcare associated infections.

Education and Training is a major part of the ASP and we support and deliver teaching sessions to many different healthcare professionals. The department also aims to share this work and the ASP has been presented at numerous national and international conferences.

Most recently we have been extensively involved in the establishment of an Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT) service, which facilitates the delivery of intravenous (into the vein) antibiotics to patients who are medically stable, within their own home. This eliminates the need to admit patients whose only reason to stay in hospital is to receive IV antibiotic therapy.



'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham