Updated audit tool for dental antimicrobial prescribing

AN updated version of a dental antimicrobial prescribing self-audit tool has been published by the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) and British Dental Association to coincide with the launch of the government’s 5-Year Action Plan and 20-Year Vision for reducing antimicrobial resistance.

Dentists issue around 5-7 per cent of NHS antibiotic prescriptions and the Antimicrobial Prescribing Self-Audit Tool consists of a data collection sheet together with a comprehensive guide enabling clinical audits of prescribing and management of dental infections. 

The tool has been endorsed by Public Health England and is designed to be used alongside the Faculty’s Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners guidance so that dentists can compare their practice against standards. The tool was originally launched in November 2016, and has now been updated to promote understanding that it facilitates, rather than performs, an audit.

Clinical audits of antibiotic prescribing have been shown to lead to a reduction both in the number of prescriptions and in the number of inappropriate prescriptions, as well as dramatic improvements in the accuracy of dose, frequency and duration for antibiotic prescriptions.

The Faculty also encourages GDPs to take the British Association of Oral Surgeons’ Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) e-Learning Modules, which provide free verified CPD enabling them to demonstrate application of the principles of antimicrobial stewardship to common clinical scenarios. 

Dr Nick Palmer, editor and co-author of the faculty’s prescribing guidance, said: "The government’s renewed focus on tackling AMR is very welcome, and dentists have a vital contribution to make in keeping antibiotics working.

"FGDP(UK) is enabling dentists to play their part in tackling a significant global problem, and by using the Self-Audit Tool, consulting our guidance and undertaking CPD, GDPs can help ensure they only prescribe antibiotics when clinically justified. We can also help reduce misuse of antibiotics by educating our patients to take and dispose of them responsibly."