Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard

Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to public health because antimicrobials underpin routine clinical practice in a variety of healthcare settings.


Infections are caused by organisms called microbes, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Medicines used to treat infections are called antimicrobials, and destroy the specific microbes involved. However, when microbes develop ways to prevent the antimicrobial medicine from effectively killing or controlling their growth, that medicine is no longer effective for that infection. This is called antimicrobial resistance.1

Although antimicrobial resistance is a natural feature of microbial evolution, the inappropriate use of antimicrobials has increased the development of antimicrobial-resistant microbes in hospitals, other healthcare facilities and in the community.1,2,3

To help prevent the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important that healthcare professionals prescribe and administer antimicrobials according to the principles of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). This includes processes such as prescribing antimicrobials only when needed (and not for mild infections such as colds, earache or sore throats), and ensuring the correct use of medicines when they are needed.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard

This resource provides guidance to clinicians and health service managers on delivering appropriate care when prescribing antimicrobials.

Review of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard – 2020

The Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard and indicator set is currently being reviewed. It is expected the updated version will be available in late 2020 or early 2021. The review will consider any changes in guidelines or quality improvement priorities since the first version was published in 2014. 

Feedback from clinicians, health service organisations and consumers will also be considered as part of the review.

Publication, report or update

Indicator specification

This resource provides a set of suggested indicators to assist with local implementation of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard. Clinicians and health services can use the indicators to monitor implementation of the quality statements, and support improvements as needed.

The indicator specification is available from METeOR. 

Implementation resources

Launch presentations

The Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard and accompanying resources were launched on 18 November 2014. Watch video presentations from the launch of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard:


1. Department of Health. Australia’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy – 2020 and Beyond. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2019

2. World Health Organization. Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. Geneva: WHO, 2015.

3. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Health Care 2018. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2018