Professional education and public engagement are fundamental components of any antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) strategy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England (HEE) and other professional organisations, develop and publish resources to support AMS activity in primary care settings. The aim of this study was to explore the adoption and use of education/training and supporting AMS resources within NHS primary care in England. Questionnaires were sent to the medicines management teams of all 209 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England, in 2017. Primary care practitioners in 168/175 (96%) CCGs received AMS education in the last two years. Respondents in 184/186 (99%) CCGs reported actively promoting the TARGET Toolkit to their primary care practitioners; although 137/176 (78%) did not know what percentage of primary care practitioners used the TARGET toolkit. All respondents were aware of Antibiotic Guardian and 132/167 (79%) reported promoting the campaign. Promotion of AMS resources to general practices is currently excellent, but as evaluation of uptake or effect is poor, this should be encouraged by resource providers and through quality improvement programmes. Trainers should be encouraged to promote and highlight the importance of action planning within their AMS training. AMS resources, such as leaflets and education, should be promoted across the whole health economy, including Out of Hours and care homes. Primary care practitioners should continue to be encouraged to display a signed Antibiotic Guardian poster as well as general AMS posters and videos in practice, as patients find them useful and noticeable.
Keywords: Antibiotic Guardian; Health education; TARGET; antimicrobial resistance; training.