Patient and public understanding and knowledge of antimicrobial resistance and stewardship in a UK hospital: should public campaigns change focus?

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2017 Jan;72(1):311-314. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkw387. Epub 2016 Sep 21.


Background: The rising global tide of antimicrobial resistance is a well-described phenomenon. Employing effective and innovative antimicrobial stewardship strategies is an essential approach to combat this public health threat. Education of the public and patients is paramount to enable the success of such strategies.

Methods: A panel of hospital multidisciplinary healthcare professionals was set up and a short quiz containing true/false statements around antimicrobial stewardship and resistance was designed and piloted. An educational leaflet with the correct replies and supporting information was also produced and disseminated. Participants were recruited on a single day (18 November 2015) from the hospital outpatient clinics and the hospital outpatient pharmacy waiting room.

Results: One hundred and forty-five completed quizzes were returned, providing a total of 1450 answers. Overall, 934 of 1450 (64%) statements were scored correctly whilst 481 (33%) were scored incorrectly; 35 (3%) statements were left unscored. We speculate that these results may demonstrate that respondents understood the statements, as only a small proportion of statements were left unanswered. The question dealing with the definition of antimicrobial resistance and the question dealing with the definition of antimicrobial stewardship obtained the most incorrect replies (85% and 72%, respectively). However, a specific factual recall question regarding only one microorganism (MRSA) received the most correct responses (99%).

Conclusions: We describe a simple, innovative method of engagement with patients and the general public to help educate and disseminate important public health messages around antimicrobial resistance and stewardship. We also identified the need for public health campaigns to address the knowledge gaps found around this topic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Drug Utilization / standards*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Policy*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • United Kingdom


  • Anti-Infective Agents