News story

Responding to the threat of antimicrobial resistance

A new UK 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action Plan is in development and is expected to be published in the summer.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The 2013 to 2018 strategy will accelerate progress and build on previous work to address antimicrobial resistance. It will also deal with the issues raised by the Chief Medical Officer in Volume 2 of her annual report.

Engagement with significant stakeholders and delivery partners has already helped to develop a number of measures that will form part of the strategy. The intention is to focus on 7 important areas:

  • surveillance and guidance, for example on prescribing
  • antimicrobial stewardship including infection prevention and control and antibiotic prescribing
  • increasing awareness to bring about behaviour change
  • improved training and education of all healthcare staff
  • research to understand antimicrobial resistance, improve diagnostics and treatment alternatives
  • development of drugs and innovative therapies
  • increasing international collaboration and data sharing

Outcomes from this work will be measured on an annual basis and build on the significant progress that has already been made, such as:

  • support for the annual European Antibiotics Awareness Day to raise public and professional awareness of the need to preserve antibiotics
  • a range of resources to improve antimicrobial stewardship in healthcare settings and conserve the efficacy of existing antibiotics, including Start Smart Then Focus and TARGET
  • review of national guidance on carbapenemase producing bacteria
  • increasing surveillance by improving data collection on the important drug/bug combinations
  • exploring new activities to ‘kick start’ development of diagnostics, antibiotics and other therapeutics

The UK’s first antimicrobial resistance strategy was published in 2000. It covered surveillance, prudent prescribing and infection prevention and control.

Published 2 April 2013