Article Text

Download PDFPDF
A UK hospital survey to explore healthcare professional views and attitudes to patients incorrectly labelled as penicillin allergic: an antibiotic stewardship patient safety project
  1. Michael Wilcock1,
  2. Neil Powell1,
  3. Jonathan Sandoe2
  1. 1 Pharmacy Department, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, UK
  2. 2 Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Michael Wilcock, Pharmacy Department, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro TR1 3LQ, UK; mike.wilcock{at}


Objectives To ascertain the views, beliefs and attitudes of hospital staff to incorrect penicillin allergy records in order to determine healthcare worker motivation for the implementation of a penicillin de-labelling antibiotic stewardship intervention at the study hospital.

Methods An electronic questionnaire (SurveyMonkey) was distributed to medical, nursing and pharmacy staff at a 750-bed teaching district general hospital with no specialist allergy service.

Results 193 staff responded (58% medical, 31% nursing and 11% pharmacy). Virtually all staff had encountered patients who believed themselves to be penicillin allergic, but felt the patient’s belief to be erroneous. The potential negative consequences of an incorrectly assigned penicillin allergy label were acknowledged by the majority of respondents. In total, 188/190 (99%) of staff thought patients having an incorrect allergy status to penicillin was a problem and required a solution. Staff reported they would feel confident using a validated evidence-based question tool to de-label patients incorrectly labelled as penicillin allergic if the process was supported by Trust management, although many still felt apprehensive about de-labelling patients for fear of patient harm through inappropriate de-labelling.

Conclusions A penicillin allergy de-labelling intervention would be well supported by healthcare workers at the study hospital, demonstrating a receptive environment for this behavioural change intervention. Further exploration of the barriers and levers to introducing an intervention is required using behavioural change methodology in order to design a successful de-labelling intervention.

  • change management
  • infection control
  • adverse effects
  • quality in health care
  • organisational development
View Full Text

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.