26th June 2023

The UK Paediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship (UK-PAS) network was launched in June 2019 to address the unmet need for coordinated paediatric efforts in dealing with antimicrobial resistance and improving antimicrobial use in the UK. In 2023, UK-PAS formally moved under BSAC’s umbrella. In this short article, UK-PAS Chair, Alicia Demirjian, explores her approach for the next stage of the network now that it has moved under BSAC’s umbrella.

The UK PAS network is multidisciplinary and inclusive and celebrates diversity. We meet over monthly webinars to share lessons learned on the judicious use of antimicrobials in children and young people and to coordinate the antimicrobial management of paediatric infections through the antimicrobial paediatric summary. Our work is conducted by four working groups: education (led by Sanjay Patel and Sam Channon-Wells), guidelines (Paddy McMaster and Orlagh McGarrity), research and quality improvement (Stefania Vergnano), and funding (Simon Drysdale).

Antibiotic use in early life, likely through the disruption of healthy microbiota, has been associated with various long-term conditions. The consequences of drug-resistant infections in children and young people have potential for a large cumulative long-term impact on quality-adjusted and disability-adjusted life years. Some paediatric settings, particularly neonatal intensive care units, are common sites for healthcare-associated infections and outbreaks.

Despite this, there is little paediatric-specific data to benchmark the use of antimicrobial agents and the incidence of healthcare-associated infections in order to guide local and national interventions. This dearth promotes evidence-free clinical practice and an unhealthy variability in the management of paediatric infections.

For these reasons, the collection of paediatric data needs prioritising. Our plea is for readers to support the collection of data used to improve the health of children and young people. We ask you to encourage the participation of your Trusts and clinical networks (specifically district general hospitals) in UKHSA’s upcoming national point-prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use this Autumn and ensure that paediatric-specific data are collected.

More information, including our mission and objectives and webinar recordings, can be found on the UK-PAS website: https://uk-pas.co.uk/

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