The development and implementation of the NAPS has been an ongoing collaboration between the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) and the Commission as part of AURA since 2013. The NAPS is coordinated by a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians within the Guidance Group in partnership with the NCAS, and based at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne. With funding support from the Commission, NCAS has enhanced the Hospital NAPS, and developed and piloted the Aged Care NAPS (acNAPS) and Surgical NAPS (SNAPS) and a range of quality improvement tools. The Hospital NAPS commenced in 2011. Participation in NAPS is voluntary.

The Hospital NAPS is a web-based antimicrobial prescribing audit and reporting tool that can be accessed at any time throughout the year, although hospitals are encouraged to complete the survey in time for the results to be made available for Antibiotic Awareness Week in November each year. The tool is designed to assist healthcare facilities to audit the prevalence and quality of antimicrobial prescribing practices in Australian public and private acute and subacute hospitals in metropolitan, regional and remote areas. Audits are conducted by clinicians at each site (such as a combination of a pharmacist, nurse or infection control practitioner with a doctor) following a standardised methodology.

The NCAS has developed guidance to help facilities assess the appropriateness of antimicrobial prescriptions for the survey. This guidance outlines several criteria that are required to be met (such as guideline concordance, dosing, allergies, microbiology results and spectrum of activity) for a prescription to be considered appropriate. The NCAS provides remote support to help determine the appropriateness of their prescribing for hospitals without on-site expertise. Contributing sites are able to immediately access their own data and benchmark these with other contributing peer hospitals or the national aggregate data.

With support from the Commission, the acNAPS was piloted by NCAS in 2015 and the SNAPS was piloted in 2016. Both these surveys will continue to be available nationally in 2017. NAPS Reports are published on the Commission’s AURA web page.

Antimicrobial stewardship programs have been developed to reduce inappropriate and unnecessary use of antimicrobials and assist in slowing the progression of antimicrobial resistance. Participation in NAPS assists with local antimicrobial stewardship initiatives, and supports hospitals to demonstrate compliance with National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 3: Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections. The NAPS helps facilities determine prescribing trends, identify targets for quality improvement and assists in the evaluation of any changes that are implemented.

For more information about the NAPS – including becoming a contributor to the Hospital NAPS, acNAPS or SNAPS – visit the NAPS website.