Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Information and resources on the government’s plans to slow the growth of antimicrobial resistance.

The term antimicrobial includes antibiotic, antiprotozoal, antiviral and antifungal medicines. Antimicrobial Resistance arises when the micro-organisms that cause infection survive exposure to a medicine that would normally kill them or stop their growth.

Resistance is a natural biological phenomenon but is increased and accelerated by various factors such as misuse of medicines, poor infection control practices and global trade and travel.

This is a particular concern with antibiotics. Many of the medical advances in recent years, for example, organ transplantation and cancer chemotherapy need antibiotics to prevent and treat the bacterial infections that can be caused by the treatment. Without effective antibiotics, even minor surgery and routine operations could become high risk procedures if serious infections can’t be treated.

Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance Reports

Strategic publications

The Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England are leading the implementation of the UK 5 year Antimicrobial Resistance strategy.

A cross-government steering group is overseeing implementation of the strategy. The group works with a range of partners across the human and animal health, research, industry and academic sectors.

For more information about the steering group and the UK AMR strategy contact:

PHE, working with their equivalent organisations in the devolved administrations, is responsible for coordinating cross-government activity on the human health aspects of the AMR programme for the UK.

Inquiries about PHE’s AMR programmes should be sent to:

UK veterinary antibiotic resistance and sales surveillance is monitored by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

An independent review on antimicrobial resistance, led by Lord O’Neill, published its final report in May 2016. The report included recommendations in 10 areas to tackle AMR across the globe.

International progress to tackle AMR includes a G7 and G20 commitment to the AMR Global Action Plan and resolutions set out by:

Clinical or technical guidance and publications

Clinical guidance, technical publications and the work of the government expert advisory groups. Other sources of clinical guidance and technical information include:

The Department of Health and Social Care is advised by the Advisory committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (ARHAI) and Defra is advised by the Defra Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination group (DARC).

PHE coordinates UK data for the European antimicrobial resistance surveillance network (EARS-Net) which collects data on selected organisms enabling rates of antimicrobial resistance to be compared across Europe.

Resources for healthcare professionals

AMR tools and resources have been developed to help human, livestock and animal healthcare professionals to improve infection prevention and control practices and to help improve prescribing.

The AMR local indicators provides national and local information on:

  • antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • antibiotic prescribing
  • healthcare-associated infections (HCAI)
  • infection prevention and control (IPC)
  • antimicrobial stewardship (AMS)

The Royal College of GPs: toolkit to help clinicians and commissioners prescribing antibiotics.

NHS England: resources for healthcare providers, staff and commissioners.

NHS.UK: Information for the public, explaining AMR, when antibiotics are appropriate and how to take them can be found.

Antibiotic resistance: What is the Veterinary Medicines Directorate doing?

Resources for livestock professionals

A number of animal health organisations have produced guidelines and guidance on the responsible use of antibiotics.


  1. AMR: summary of the current evidence


Government press releases and news related to AMR.

  1. Reducing infections in the NHS
  2. Tackling antibiotics resistance in low income countries
  3. UK secures historic UN Declaration on antimicrobial resistance
  4. Government’s progress in preventing drug resistant infections
  5. International event to tackle overuse of antibiotics
  6. New report shows stark effect of antibiotic resistance
  7. Antibiotics wins the Longitude Prize
  8. Progress on the UK antimicrobial resistance strategy
  9. New public health research partnerships to get £47.5 million
  10. Tough action needed to avoid antibiotic resistance
  11. UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy published
  12. Responding to the threat of antimicrobial resistance
Published 23 July 2014
Last updated 24 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added new UK public health ARA page inserted into 'Clinical or technical guidance and publications' sub-group.
  2. Added 'Progress report on the UK 5 year AMR strategy: 2016' to the 'Strategic publications' section.
  3. Added the following pages to 'Clinical or technical guidance and publication' section: - Doxycycline as post-exposure prophylaxis for STIs: PHE response - English surveillance programme for antimicrobial utilisation and resistance (ESPAUR) report - Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance 2016
  4. VMD UK VARSS 2016 report published
  5. Added news story from November 2016: 'Reducing infections in the NHS'
  6. Guidance added re mg/PCU
  7. Added the news story 'Tackling antibiotics resistance in low income countries'.
  8. Updated the list of resources for healthcare professionals to include the AMR local indicators.
  9. Added news story about UN Declaration on combatting antimicrobial resistance.
  10. Added link to guidelines and guidance under resourses and link to Handling manure guidance page
  11. Updated the Strategic publications sections and added the UK one health report: antibiotics use in humans and animals
  12. Added Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: early detection, management and control toolkit for acute trusts to the collection.
  13. Added the 'Antibiotic use guidance for primary care' publication to the resources.
  14. First published.