Quality statement 2: Antibiotic therapy for diagnosed low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia

Quality statement

Adults with low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia are prescribed a 5‑day course of a single antibiotic.

Rationale

Pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria and should be treated with antibiotic therapy. A 5‑day course of a single antibiotic is usually an effective treatment for diagnosed low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia unless symptoms do not improve. Prescribing a 5‑day course will ensure that antibiotic therapy is not given for longer than necessary, and will contribute to effective antimicrobial stewardship. Healthcare professionals should give people advice on seeking further help if their symptoms do not show signs of improving after 3 days of antibiotic therapy.

Quality measures

Process

Proportion of adults with low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia who receive a 5‑day maximum course of a single antibiotic.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who are prescribed a 5‑day maximum course of a single antibiotic.

Denominator – the number of adults with low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers (primary care services and secondary care services) ensure that adults with low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia are prescribed a 5‑day course of a single antibiotic.

Healthcare professionals (such as GPs, hospital clinicians and nurse practitioners)prescribe a 5‑day course of a single antibiotic to adults with low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia and give advice on seeking further help if symptoms do not show signs of improving.

Commissioners (NHS England and clinical commissioning groups) ensure that adults with low‑severity community‑acquired pneumonia are prescribed a 5‑day course of a single antibiotic.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

Adults with mild community‑acquired pneumonia (also called low severity) are prescribed a 5‑day course of an antibiotic.

Source guidance

Pneumonia in adults: diagnosis and management (2014) NICE guideline CG191, recommendation 1.2.10 (key priority for implementation)

Definition of terms used in this quality statement

Community‑acquired pneumonia

Pneumonia that is acquired outside hospital. Pneumonia that develops in a person living in a nursing or residential home is included in this definition. Pneumonia that develops in people who are immunocompromised, and terminal pneumonia associated with another disease are not included.