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What influences the implementation and sustainability of antibiotic stewardship programmes in hospitals? A qualitative study of antibiotic pharmacists’ perspectives across South West England


Objectives Antibiotic stewardship programmes (ASPs) are needed at every hospital as they can improve antibiotic use and address antibiotic resistance. Pharmacists are key agents and specialists in these programmes. This study explored antibiotic pharmacists’ perceptions of factors that influence the implementation and sustainability of hospital-based ASPs.

Methods Semistructured interviews were conducted with hospital antibiotic pharmacists face-to-face or by telephone. NVivo V.12 software was used to collate and organise the data grouped within codes. Thematic analysis was undertaken using inductive and deductive approaches to produce overarching themes.

Results Thirteen pharmacists from 13 hospitals were interviewed. Four main themes were identified: (1) ‘organisational culture’ which highlighted the importance of strong local clinical leadership to help achieve organisational buy-in and address resistance among physicians or clinical hierarchies; (2) ‘national influences’ including networks, guidance and incentive schemes which were considered to be a driver to bring about changes across organisation; (3) ‘continuous monitoring with feedback ASP data, preferably through direct communication’ to demonstrate the impact of the programmes which then facilitated ongoing support from local leadership and improved engagement across organisation; and (4) ‘resources’ which indicated the need of information technology and dedicated personnel with protected time to support ASP activities.

Conclusions Interventions and strategies should operate at different levels—individual, team, organisational and national—to help implement and sustain ASPs in hospital. This is also the first study to identify and highlight the importance of national initiatives in contributing to the implementation and sustainability of hospital-based ASPs.

  • drug monitoring
  • education department
  • hospital
  • healthcare rationing
  • pharmacy service
  • hospital
  • public health

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information. Additional information can be requested via an email from the first author upon reasonable request.

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