Objectives: To explore and compare the knowledge, attitudes and experiences of doctors, dentists and veterinarians (as prescribers) in relation to antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance (AbR), and to consider the implications of these for policy-making that support a One Health approach.
Design: A cross-sectional survey conducted online. Setting Doctors, dentists and veterinarians practising in primary, secondary or tertiary care in Australia. Participants 547 doctors, 380 dentists and 403 veterinarians completed the survey.
Main outcome measures: Prescribers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of AbR, the extent to which a range of factors are perceived as barriers to appropriate prescribing practices, and perceived helpfulness of potential strategies to improve antibiotic prescribing in practice.
Results: There was substantial agreement across prescriber groups that action on AbR is required by multiple sectors and stakeholders. However, prescribers externalised responsibility to some extent by seeing the roles of others as more important than their own in relation to AbR. There were common and context-specific barriers to optimal prescribing across the prescriber groups. Prescriber groups generally perceived restrictive policies as unhelpful to supporting appropriate prescribing in their practice.
Conclusions: The results have implications for implementing a One Health approach that involves doctors, dentists and veterinarians as key players to tackling the crisis of AbR. The findings are that (1) prescribers understand and are likely receptive to a One Health policy approach to AbR, (2) policy development should be sensitive to barriers that are specific to individual prescriber groups and (3) the development and introduction of interventions that might be perceived as reducing prescriber autonomy will need to be carefully designed and implemented.