Changes made to UK action plan on AMR

24 May 2022

Article: 56/2003

On 16 May 2022, the UK Government announced changes to the commitments made in the UK five-year national action plan in tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The national action plan is in its third year of delivery and these changes were required to make the commitments:

  • more specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART)
  • reflect lessons learned from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • reflect progress that has already been made against ambitions to reduce antibiotic prescribing in food-producing animals
  • work towards new sector targets  

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has worked with other government departments and agencies, as well as the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to consider, review and update the commitments published in the national action plan. Changes to the human health commitments were approved by a sub-group of the expert committee for Antimicrobial Prescribing, Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (APRHAI). Animal, plant, and environment commitments were reviewed, and changes approved, by the Cross-Defra Steering Group. The changed commitments maintain the overall ambition of the UK AMR programme and will support progress towards the UK’s vision to contain and control AMR by 2040. 

In total, 93 commitments have been reworded, 17 new commitments have been added, and eight commitments have been removed. As well as reflecting lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed changes aim to:

  • improve the surveillance of AMR and antimicrobial use
  • improve the availability of data to better understand the prevalence of AMR across human-health and animals, and linking of this data to enable analysis of AMR and our approach to managing infection through dashboards and research
  • reflect priorities identified by the UK AMR Research Programme to explore and evaluate antimicrobial use, prescribing, new therapeutics, diagnostics, stewardship and resistance across both human health and animals
  • reflect the particular role the UK is playing internationally in non-traditional and informal political groupings including supporting the UK Special Envoy on AMR and taking a lead role in AMR interest groups
  • introduce four new commitments to reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs), in support of the national action plan ambition to halve healthcare associated Gram-negative bloodstream infections (GNBSIs) by 2024  

Source: UK Government, 16 May 2022