Background: In order to tackle the public health threat of antimicrobial resistance, improvement in antibiotic prescribing in primary care was included as one of the priorities of the Quality Premium (QP) financial incentive scheme for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England. This paper briefly reports the outcome of a workshop exploring the experiences of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) leads within CCGs in selecting and adopting strategies to help achieve the QP antibiotic targets. Methods: We conducted a thematic analysis of the notes on discussions and observations from the workshop to identify key themes. Results: Practice visits, needs assessment, peer feedback and audits were identified as strategies integrated in increasing engagement with practices towards the QP antibiotic targets. The conceptual model developed by AMS leads demonstrated possible pathways for the impact of the QP on antibiotic prescribing. Participants raised a concern that the constant targeting of high prescribing practices for AMS interventions might lead to disengagement by these practices. Most of the participants suggested that the effect of the QP might be less about the financial incentive and more about having national targets and guidelines that promote antibiotic prudency. Conclusions: Our results suggest that national targets, rather than financial incentives are key for engaging stakeholders in quality improvement in antibiotic prescribing.
Keywords: AMS campaign; antibiotic resistance; clinical commissioning groups; primary care; quality premium; stewardship.