Objectives: To identify the types, prevalence and nature of antibiotic prescribing control documents within NHS hospitals in the UK. Methods: A self-completion postal questionnaire was sent to each Chief Pharmacist at 465 NHS hospitals in 2001/2002. This contained questions covering hospital demographics, and hospital antibiotic prescribing control documentation, including format, dissemination, approval and review processes. Results: In total, 253 (54%) completed questionnaires were returned. Of these, 168 respondents' hospitals had an antibiotic formulary, 107 had a policy for antibiotic prescribing and 216 had guidelines on antibiotic use. All three types of antibiotic prescribing documents were used by 82 hospitals but 18 did not have any documents; 44% of formularies, 45% of policies and 35% of guidelines were available electronically. The Drug and Therapeutics Committee was the most frequently cited body for document approval and approximately one-third of documents had been approved during the current year of the questionnaire. Only about one-half of responding hospitals had an annual review of documents. Conclusions: Despite publication of high-profile national guidance in response to growing concerns regarding antimicrobial resistance, there has been little increase in the use of antibiotic prescribing control documents in NHS hospitals over the past decade. It is clear that appropriate controls for antibiotic prescribing are not yet universally applied in the UK and recommendations for action have been proposed. © The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2004; all rights reserved.
- medicines management