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Government tackles antimicrobial resistance

The Department of Health (DH) on Tuesday 2nd April said it is developing a new UK 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action Plan and expects to publish a document in the summer.

The DH said: “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."

It said it intended to focus on seven 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 allhealthcare 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 theneed 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.