Objectives: To develop an objective measure to enable hospital Trusts to compare their use of antibiotics. Design: Self-completion, postal questionnaire with telephone follow up. Sample: 4 hospital trusts in the English Midlands. Results: The survey showed that it was possible to collect data concerning the number of Defined Daily Doses (DDD's) of quinolone antibiotic dispensed per Finished Consultant Episode (FCE) in each Trust.. In the 4 trusts studied the mean DDD/FCE was 0.197 (range 0.117 to 0.258). This indicates that based on a typical course length of 5 days, 3.9% of patient episodes resulted in the prescription of a quinolone antibiotic. Antibiotic prescribing control measures in each Trust were found to be comparable. Conclusion: The measure will enable Trusts to objectively compare their usage of quinolone antibiotics and use this information to carry out clinical audit should differences be recorded. This is likely to be applicable to other groups of antibiotics.