Dr van der Velden began the Netherlands, update with a quote from Edith Schippers, the previous Dutch Minister of Health, who has made combating AMR one of her main goals. A couple of years ago Ms Schippers announced a plan to decrease unnecessary antibiotic use in the Netherlands by 50%. This announcement helped raise AMR awareness in the Netherlands and initiated a programme to address the inappropriate use of antibiotics. The strategy included facilitating and organising antibiotic surveillance and stewardship, not only in primary care, but also in secondary care and in long-term care facilities, which are often forgotten in context of antibiotic overuse.
The new indication-linked quality indicators, together with the education provided were greatly appreciated by GPs.
Dr Alike van der Velden
In the pilot for primary care, the systematic surveillance of antibiotic use was initiated, beginning with new quality indicators, explained Dr van der Velden. Previously, antibiotic use was measured as the number and type of antibiotics per practice. This lacked the indication for prescribing, making it difficult to interpret whether usage was appropriate. The new quality indicators were presented to GPs during educational meetings, during which guidelines, new scientific insight and patient/ doctor communication were also discussed.
Subsequently, tools were developed that nowadays allow the collection of information from practices’ electronic medical records in a standardized manner, to enable transparent and uniform calculation of the outcomes of the quality indicators. Dr van der Velden also recently obtained further funding to start training regional teams, support practices collect the outcomes
for the indicators and provide further education. The next steps are to roll this out in two of the 12 large regions of the Netherlands. This represents the first step towards the national implementation of these processes to gather this information from the GP system, calculate the outcomes and provide education on a regular basis.