The government has launched a 20-year vision and 5-year action plan for how the UK will contribute to containing and controlling anti-biotic resistant bacteria by 2040.
The plans include targets, such as cutting the number of drug-resistant infections by 10% by 2025, reducing the use of antibiotics in humans by 15%, and preventing at least 15,000 patients from contracting infections as a result of their healthcare each year by 2024
‘Imagine a world without antibiotics,’ said Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary. ‘Where treatable infections become untreatable, where routine surgery like a hip operation becomes too risky to carry out, and where every wound is potentially life-threatening. What would go through your mind if your child cut their finger and you knew there was no antibiotic left that could treat an infection? This was the human condition until almost a century ago. I don’t want it to be the future for my children – yet it may be unless we act.’
A major focus of the plan is to make sure current antibiotics remain effective by reducing the number of resistant infections and supporting clinicians to prescribe appropriately.
The government has also committed to working with vets and farmers to further reduce antibiotic use in animals by 25% between 2016 and 2020, with objectives to be refreshed by 2021.
‘As Health Secretary, responsible for one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, I could not look my children in the eyes unless I knew I was doing all in my power to solve this great threat. When we have time to act. But the urgency is now,’ added Mr Hancock.
‘Each and every one of us benefits from antibiotics, but we all too easily take them for granted, and I shudder at the thought of a world in which their power is diminished. Antimicrobial resistance is as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare. That’s why we need an urgent global response.’