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Consultation launched to combat antimicrobial resistance

The Government has launched a consultation on a 20 year plan to protect patients from the ‘silent pandemic’ of antimicrobial resistance

The Government has launched a consultation on a 20 year plan to protect patients from the ‘silent pandemic’ of antimicrobial resistance.

The consultation will bring together the latest evidence and data from leading experts on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It will help inform a new 5-year action national action plan to protect patients from deadly infections and will capture learnings from the Covid pandemic. Recent estimates suggest that AMR causes 1.27 million deaths globally each year and 7,600 deaths in the UK each year.

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‘Antimicrobial Resistance may be the defining health challenge of this century,’ said Prof Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy on AMR.

‘I am proud of the UK’s efforts on research and development, stewardship, surveillance and international engagement across all sectors. I hope that our next National Action Plan will show that we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and collaborate to step up our actions.’

A report published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) this week showed there were more than 50,000 severe antibiotic-resistant infections in England last year including bloodstream infections, skin infections, surgical site infections and skin and soft tissue infections.

The report also found the number of severe antibiotic resistant infections rose by 2.2.% in England compared to 2020, the equivalent of 148 infections per day. It warns that progress made on antibiotic use may not be sustained unless we continue to use antibiotics appropriately.

‘Antimicrobial resistance is not a distant problem that we can ignore – infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria are killing thousands of people every year in this country and globally, as well as having a huge economic impact,’ said Dr Colin Brown, Deputy Director of Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections at the UK Health Security Agency.

‘Our extensive data and surveillance programmes have identified the immense scale of the issue in this country. It has pinpointed areas for action, with targets to improve prescribing and limit antimicrobial-resistant and healthcare-associated infections over the last 5 years. We will continue to work with partners to respond to current threats and prepare for future challenges.’