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UK government launches consultation on silent AMR pandemic

The consultation will call upon the latest data from experts on antimicrobial resistance

AMR

The UK government has announced it has formed a new consultation to address the next stage of tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as part of its 20 year vision, published in 2019.

The consultation is steered by the increasing risk of medicine-resistant superbugs to patients, with a focus on a producing five-year plan underpinned by the latest evidence and data from leading AMR experts. The plan will seek to protect vulnerable patients from deadly infections, while referring to hard-learned lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The action plan launched in 2019 set out an initial five year plan scheduled to run until 2024. The latest consultation aims to ensure that the next five year plan, continuing up until 2029, comprises the most up to date evidence.

The Government’s initiative has been launched to coincide with World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022, which has set its focus this year on supporting key sectors – including environment, food, plants and health – to successfully collaborate and unite against AMR.

In recently recorded estimates, it has been suggested that AMR is responsible for 1.27 million deaths worldwide each year and 7,600 deaths in the UK each year.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a report showing there were more than 50,000 severe antibiotic-resistant infections in England last year, including bloodstream infections, skin infections, surgical site infections and skin and soft tissue infections.

Moreover, the report found the number of severe antibiotic resistant infections increased by 2.2% in England compared to 2020, which is the equivalent of 148 infections per day. The UKHSA cautions in the report that progress made on antibiotic use is not sustainable without a better understanding of use antibiotics appropriately and effectively.

Dr Colin Brown, deputy director of Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections at the UKHSA, said: “[The] extensive data and surveillance programmes have identified the immense scale of the issue in this country. It has pinpointed areas for action, with targets to improve prescribing and limit antimicrobial-resistant and healthcare-associated infections over the last five years. We will continue to work with partners to respond to current threats and prepare for future challenges.”

He concluded: “It is vital the future National Action Plan targets include measures to limit resistance, incentivise best practice in prescribing, and facilitate novel diagnostics and therapeutics.”

The Government has made considerable progress in tackling AMR since the 2019 strategy was published, for example reducing the use of antibiotics in food producing animals, piloting new ways of paying for antibiotics on the NHS through a subscription model and securing commitments to tackle AMR on several ministerial tracks during the UK’s G7 presidency.

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

23rd November 2022

From: Research, Healthcare

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