Antimicrobial resistance report a timely reminder

27 Apr 2017 | Infection Prevention & Control

The Health Quality & Safety Commission is welcoming today’s release of a report by the Antimicrobial Resistance Action Planning Group.

Antimicrobial Resistance: New Zealand’s current situation and identified areas for action brings the spotlight on a developing issue worldwide, one which the Commission holds serious concerns about.

‘While New Zealand has a comparatively low prevalence of antimicrobial resistance when we look at other countries, that doesn’t mean we should ignore this growing global issue,’ says Dr Sally Roberts, Commission clinical lead for infection prevention and control.

‘New Zealand has a similar rate of antibiotic consumption in the community when compared to Australia but a higher rate when compared with some European countries, indicating that there is considerable room for improvement in prescribing practices in both countries. The Commission is very pleased to be involved in work being done to raise awareness of this issue.’

The Commission’s infection prevention and control programme is making an important contribution to preventing infection and reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics.

‘Targeted quality improvement is an important part of preventing infections and effectively responding to antimicrobial resistance,’ says Dr Roberts.

The programme includes the surgical site infection improvement programme, which has seen a significant reduction in the orthopaedic surgery infection rate, and an improvement in the use of antibiotics given at the time of surgery to reduce infectious complications.

It also includes work with health care providers to support best practice in hand hygiene, through the Hand Hygiene NZ programme.

'Consumers can help prevent this issue by not expecting to be prescribed antibiotics when they are of no benefit, such as for winter coughs and colds, and if they do receive a prescription, only taking antibiotics as instructed. Not completing a course of antibiotics or sharing a course of treatment with others can contribute to an increase in antimicrobial resistance,’ she says.

‘Doctors, pharmacists, dentists, midwives and nurse prescribers who take the time to explain why "using antibiotics with care" will benefit us all are also helping create a culture in New Zealand that values antibiotics as a precious global resource.’

Last updated 16/05/2017