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New trial helps reduce unnecessary antibiotics

In June the Trust was one of the first to implement a nationally funded research study to help stop unnecessary antibiotics.  The Antibiotic Review Kit (ARK) encourages all prescribers to categorise antibiotic prescriptions according to the strength of evidence there is for an infection.  The options are ‘possible’ - when infection isn’t the most likely diagnosis but antibiotics are required just in case, or ‘probable’ - where infection is the most likely diagnosis.

ARK also asks doctors to stop antibiotics on review unless there’s clear evidence to continue. These simple measures, combined with regular audit and feedback of results, have led to a significant increase in the number of antibiotics stopped by day three.

Damian Mawer, Consultant Microbiologist, said: “The challenge now is to sustain the improvements made by ARK. To support this work anyone starting patients on antibiotics should ensure the indication is clearly documented and that samples such as blood cultures are taken before the first dose.  All prescribers looking after medical patients are encouraged to apply the correct infection category when they are prescribing antibiotics and to ensure they are reviewed by day three.”

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