The Commission is working with the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) at the Doherty Institute (a joint venture between the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne). The purpose of NCAS is to collect and analyse data on the appropriate use of, and prescribing practices for, antimicrobials in hospitals through the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS).

NAPS is a voluntary annual audit of antimicrobial use by health services. It provides a snapshot of medication charts and patient records which have been assessed for appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing, and compliance with guidelines.

The results from the NAPS can be used as evidence to support the antimicrobial stewardship criterion of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 3: Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections.

For more information on NAPS, or to participate in the survey, please visit the NAPS website.


2015 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey

The 2015 NAPS Report, Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2015 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey, was released in January 2017.

Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2015 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (PDF 2MB) (Word 767KB)

A total of 281 hospitals (213 public and 68 private) participated.

Results of the 2015 survey:

  • Analyses of the 2015 Hospital NAPS data showed that documentation of indication remained steady at 72.5% of antimicrobials dispensed in public and private hospitals that participated in NAPS. Nearly one-quarter (23.3%) of antimicrobials dispensed were noncompliant with guidelines, and 21.9% were prescribed inappropriately.
  • For prescriptions for surgical prophylaxis, which was identified as a major indication for antimicrobial use in the 2014 Hospital NAPS, 27.4% of the surveyed prescriptions continued beyond 24 hours (less than 5% is considered best practice).
  • The most common indications for prescribing antimicrobials reported in the 2015 Hospital NAPS were surgical prophylaxis (15.5% of all antimicrobials dispensed in public and private hospitals that participated in NAPS), community-acquired pneumonia (10.5%), medical prophylaxis (7.6%), sepsis (5.7%) and urinary tract infection (5.0%).
  • The most common antimicrobials prescribed were cefazolin, ceftriaxone, amoxicillin–clavulanate and piperacillin–tazobactam. The appropriateness of prescribing for these five antimicrobials ranged from 65.1% to 77.6% in 2015, a slight improvement from the 2014 Hospital NAPS scores of 63.1% to 76.9%.
  • Areas highlighted for quality improvement include documentation of start and stop dates and indications for antimicrobial prescriptions, and the ongoing high proportion of prolonged and noncompliant surgical prophylaxis prescriptions.

Surgical National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey

Successive annual Hospital Antimicrobial Prescribing Surveys since 2013 have identified rates of inappropriate prescribing of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis of around 40%.

The Surgical NAPS (SNAPS) was developed to collect more detailed information about prescribing practices for surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis, to guide quality improvement programs. The 2016 pilot SNAPS has identified a continuing high level of inappropriate prescribing of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis of just over 43%.

For more detail on prescribing of surgical prophylaxis read: Surgical National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey: Results of the 2016 pilot


NAPS reports

Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (PDF 2MB) (released 2015).

Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2013 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (PDF 1MB) (Word 588KB) (released 2014)


Antimicrobial prescribing and infections in Australian residential aged care facilities

to find out about antimicrobial prescribing in Australian residential aged care facilities, visit the acNAPS page.