The Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally Davies's report on the threat of antimicrobial resistance and infectious diseases.
The report highlights that, while a new infectious disease has been discovered nearly every year over the past 30 years, there have been very few new antibiotics developed leaving our armoury nearly empty as diseases evolve and become resistant to existing drugs.
In addition to encouraging development of new drugs, the report highlights that looking after the current supply of antibiotics is equally important. This means using better hygiene measures to prevent infections, prescribing fewer antibiotics and making sure they are only prescribed when needed.
17 recommendations are made as part of the report, including:
a call for antimicrobial resistance to be put on the national risk register and taken seriously by politicians at an international level, including the G8 and World Health Organisation
better surveillance of data across the NHS and worldwide to monitor the developing situation more work carried out between the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries to preserve existing drugs and encourage the development of new antibiotics
better hygiene measures should be used when treating the next generation of healthcare associated infections such as new strains of harder-to-treat klebsiella, this wouod build on the success of the NHS in cutting MRSA rates, which have fallen by 80% since a peak in cases in 2003
The Department of Health will soon publish the UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy setting out how it will meet the challenge that the Chief Medical Officer has outlined.