Together we can keep antibiotics working: for hospitals

Guidance for health professionals who work in the hospital environment

Together we can keep antibiotics working

Health professionals in hospitals play a vital role in reducing antimicrobial resistance so we can keep antibiotics working.

Why you need to take action

  • Antibiotic resistant infections are one of the biggest challenges for hospitals to deliver safe and effective health care.
  • Patients with antibiotic-resistant infections are more likely to experience treatment failure, side-effects, recurrent infections, longer hospital-stays, or death.
  • Antibiotic resistant infections are usually spread by direct contact with patients colonised or infected with resistant bacteria and the patient’s immediate environment. Transient contamination of health care workers hands supports spread to other patients and the health care environment.
  • A key driver of antibiotic resistance is the misuse of antibiotics.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals and in the community is a key strategy to prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
  • About one third of people were dispensed an antibiotic within 30 days of discharge from hospital in 2017.
  • Māori and Pacific peoples are between two and four times more likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment of an infection than other New Zealanders. This means that Māori and Pacific peoples will be disproportionately impacted by worse health outcomes due to antibiotic resistance.

What hospital prescribers can do

What hospital pharmacists can do

What hospital nurses can do


Videos: antibiotic resistance is a problem we can’t ignore, how hospitals view the challenge, nurse’s role
These videos can be shared to promote antibiotic awareness. If you would like access to the video file (eg, for use in waiting rooms), email us.

Social media images
Images that can be used to promote antibiotic awareness on social media.

Choosing Wisely Aotearoa New Zealand
Choosing Wisely New Zealand supports reducing unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures in health care. It has produced a range of consumer factsheets with advice that includes the appropriate use of antibiotics. Check out their fact sheet on managing coughs, colds and sore throats without antibiotics (PDF, 908 KB).

They also have a range of information for health professionals on appropriate antibiotic use. A summary is available at Choosing Wisely antibiotic messages, or full information on the Choosing Wisely website.

Infection prevention and control (IPC) walk rounds
The Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand has produced resources, including a toolkit and implementation guide, to support IPC Walk Rounds in hospitals.

Canterbury District Health Board Antibiotic Awareness resources
Canterbury DHB has produced these antibiotic awareness resources as part of a local Choosing Wisely campaign. Contact Mick O’Donnell at Canterbury DHB if you would like artwork files so you can amend and use locally.

Hand hygiene resources
The Health Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand has produced a range of resources supporting preventing the spread of infections through good hand hygiene.

Keep antibiotics working campaign (PHARMAC)
Keep antibiotics working is a PHARMAC campaign aimed at informing New Zealanders that taking antibiotics won’t fix a cold or flu. There are a range of resources for consumers and health professionals.

Royal Society Te Apārangi-produced resources
Royal Society Te Apārangi has produced these antimicrobial resistance awareness resources. Contact Nancy de Bueger at Royal Society Te Apārangi for any questions about reusing these resources.

ESR surveillance information
The Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) has an extensive surveillance programme on antimicrobial resistance.

World Health Organization (WHO) resources
In recent years, WHO has produced a number of resources (posters, infographics, social media images, videos, animated GIFs, etc) to help promote World Antibiotic Awareness Week. These are publicly available for use.

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