Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Information and resources on the UK’s plans to see antimicrobial resistance contained and controlled by 2040.

Antimicrobial resistance arises when the organisms that cause infection evolve ways to survive treatments. The term antimicrobial includes antibiotic, antiprotozoal, antiviral and antifungal medicines.

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.

Strategic publications

The UK’s 20-year vision and 5-year national action plan on AMR were co-developed across government, its agencies, the health family and administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with support from a range of stakeholders.

The national action plan builds upon the UK 5-year AMR strategy (2013 to 2018) and sets out the first step towards the UK’s vision for AMR in 2040.

Parliamentary inquiries

The Health and Social Care Committee launched an inquiry into antimicrobial resistance in May 2018.

The inquiry aimed to examine the results of the UK AMR Strategy (2013 to 2018) and determine the key actions and priorities for the government’s next AMR strategy.

Read the Health and Social Care Committee report on AMR on

Independent review on AMR

In 2014 the Prime Minister established a globally facing independent review on AMR, led by Lord O’Neill.

The review published its final report in May 2016 and included recommendations in 10 areas to tackle AMR across the globe. The government published its response to the review in September 2016.

Clinical or technical guidance and publications

A range of surveillance, research and analysis and guidance documents are published by the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care is advised by the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Prescribing, Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (APRHAI) 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.

Other sources of clinical guidance and technical information include:

Each of the devolved administrations publish surveillance reports annually:

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 enables local teams to identify key issues and allows them to benchmark their performance against the national picture and other similar organisations.

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

Resources are also available from Health Education England and the Royal College of GPs.

Resources for livestock professionals


Government press releases and news related to AMR.

Published 23 July 2014
Last updated 16 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Addendum to the UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019 to 2024' to the 'strategic publications' section.

  2. Added 'New commitments in the fight against antimicrobial resistance' to news section.

  3. Added 'Managing common infections: guidance for primary care' to 'Resources for healthcare professionals' section. Added 2014 guidance 'UK AMR strategy: measuring success' and progress reports from 2014 to 2016 to 'strategic publications' section.

  4. Added: UK one health report: antibiotics use in humans and animals

  5. All sections updated to reflect most recent content on antimicrobial resistance.

  6. Updated links to resource information

  7. Added new UK public health ARA page inserted into 'Clinical or technical guidance and publications' sub-group.

  8. Added 'Progress report on the UK 5 year AMR strategy: 2016' to the 'Strategic publications' section.

  9. 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

  10. VMD UK VARSS 2016 report published

  11. Added news story from November 2016: 'Reducing infections in the NHS'

  12. Guidance added re mg/PCU

  13. Added the news story 'Tackling antibiotics resistance in low income countries'.

  14. Updated the list of resources for healthcare professionals to include the AMR local indicators.

  15. Added news story about UN Declaration on combatting antimicrobial resistance.

  16. Added link to guidelines and guidance under resourses and link to Handling manure guidance page

  17. Updated the Strategic publications sections and added the UK one health report: antibiotics use in humans and animals

  18. Added Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: early detection, management and control toolkit for acute trusts to the collection.

  19. Added the 'Antibiotic use guidance for primary care' publication to the resources.

  20. First published.