Development and evaluation of a national gentamicin and vancomycin quality improvement programme

Yvonne Semple, Marion Bennie, Jacqueline Sneddon, Alison Cockburn, R. Andrew Seaton, Alison H. Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG) recommendations to reduce broad-spectrum antimicrobial use led to an increase in gentamicin and vancomycin prescribing. In 2009, SAPG introduced national guidance to standardize dosage regimens, reduce calculation errors and improve the monitoring of these antibiotics. Studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 identified limitations in guideline implementation. To develop, implement and assess the long-term impact of quality improvement (QI) resources to support gentamicin and vancomycin prescribing, administration and monitoring. Methods: New resources, comprising revised guidelines, online and mobile app dose calculators, educational material and specialized prescribing and monitoring charts were developed in collaboration with antimicrobial specialists and implemented throughout Scotland during 2013-16. An online survey in 2017 evaluated the use of these resources and a before (2011) and after (2018) point prevalence study assessed their impact. Results: All 12 boards who responded to the survey (80%) were using the guidance, electronic calculators and gentamicin prescription chart; 8 used a vancomycin chart. The percentage of patients who received the recommended gentamicin dose increased from 44% to 89% (OR 10.99, 95% CI = 6.37-18.95) between 2011 and 2018. For vancomycin, the correct loading dose increased from 50% to 85% (OR = 5.69, CI = 2.76-11.71) and the correct maintenance dose from 55% to 90% (OR = 7.17, CI = 3.01-17.07). Conclusions: This study demonstrated improvements in the national prescribing of gentamicin and vancomycin through the development and coordinated implementation of a range of QI resources and engagement with local and national multidisciplinary teams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1998-2003
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number7
Early online date11 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


  • antimicrobial use
  • national guidance
  • standardisation


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