In recent years, there have been increasing recommendations for multidisciplinary collaboration between clinical pharmacists and medical microbiologists in an attempt to control the quality (and quantity) of antibiotic prescribing. A questionnaire addressing the utilization of antibiotic prescribing controls was sent to the chief pharmacist and medical microbiologist in UK NHS hospitals. Responses were received from both the chief pharmacist and the medical microbiologist employed in the same hospital from 83 hospitals (a 30% response rate from two independent studies). A high level of disagreement and poor awareness was identified between the interprofessional staff groups regarding the existence of antibiotic formulary (with disagreement between the two groups, or not known by one or both respondents, in 46% of the paired hospitals, N=38) and guideline documents (13%, N=11), performance of antibiotic prescribing audits (40%, N=33), and whether pharmacists (52%, N=43) and medical microbiologists (77%, N=64) monitored physician compliance with antibiotic prescribing control documents. This study has identified poor knowledge of the existence of basic antibiotic prescribing control mechanisms and the role of professional colleagues. It is suggested that there is some way to go before 'Agenda for Change' principles of flexible and collaborative roles are met. © 2004 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.