Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses one of the most important risks to our health today. AMR occurs when an organism develops resistance to an antimicrobial that is used to treat it.
Antimicrobials are an integral component of health care delivery, and they need to be readily available and effective. When resistance emerges and the effectiveness of antimicrobials is reduced, this has a significant impact on an individual’s treatment and the community more broadly. For example, if antimicrobials become ineffective, important treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy for cancer may no longer be a viable option.
Slowing the rate of AMR, preparing for and responding to new and emerging threats, and ensuring that antimicrobials are used appropriately are key components of the Commission’s work with the states and territories, and the private sector, to ensure the safety and quality of health care in Australia.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) was funded by the Department of Health to establish and coordinate a national surveillance system for Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA). This system is now in place and the Commission is expanding the data collected and analysed to provide reports that will inform policy and practice. AURA supports the implementation of Australian Government’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015–2019 to prevent and contain AMR.
The Commission released AURA 2017 – Second Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health in August 2017. The report is primarily focussed on analyses of 2015 data. It builds on AURA 2016 to increase the comprehensiveness of the picture of antimicrobial use, resistance and the appropriateness of prescribing in Australia across all healthcare settings.