Euro Surveill. 2021 Mar;26(12). doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.12.1900633.
BackgroundWhile several studies have assessed knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of the public, physicians and medical students in a number of EU/EEA countries with respect to antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, there is a paucity of literature for other healthcare workers. This survey aimed to fill this gap.MethodsA 43-item online questionnaire was developed, validated and pilot-tested through a modified Delphi consensus process involving 87 Project Advisory Group (PAG) members, including national representatives and members of European health professional groups. The survey was distributed by the PAG and via social media to healthcare workers in 30 EU/EEA countries.ResultsRespondents (n = 18,365) from 30 EU/EEA countries participated. Knowledge of antibiotics and antibiotic use was higher (97%) than knowledge of development and spread of antibiotic resistance (75%). Sixty percent of respondents stated they had received information on avoiding unnecessary prescribing, administering or dispensing of antibiotics. Among respondents who prescribed, administered or dispensed antibiotics, 55% had provided advice on prudent antibiotic use or management of infections to patients, but only 17% had given resources (leaflets or pamphlets). For community and hospital prescribers, fear of patient deterioration or complications was the most frequent reason (43%) for prescribing antibiotics that were considered unnecessary. Community prescribers were almost twice as likely as hospital prescribers to prescribe antibiotics due to time constraints or to maintain patient relationships.ConclusionIt is important to move from raising awareness about prudent antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance among healthcare workers to designing antimicrobial stewardship interventions aimed at changing relevant behaviours.