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10-03-2013 | General practice | Article

Antimicrobial resistance warning

Abstract

Department of Health - Chief Medical Officer

medwireNews: England's Chief Medical Officer has called for urgent action on antimicrobial resistance after warning in the second volume of her annual report that it poses a "catastrophic threat".

"If we don't act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can't be treated by antibiotics. And routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection," said Professor Dame Sally Davies in a press statement.

The report cautions that diseases are evolving faster than our ability to treat them, with a dearth of new antibiotics in the past 20 years. More must be done both to protect the antibiotics we have and to promote the development of new ones, it says.

Antimicrobial resistance needs to be given greater political and global priority, Dame Sally writes in the report, which calls for the threat to be added to the UK national risk register. Greater leadership and awareness of antimicrobial stewardship are needed, coupled with improvements in diagnosis and surveillance, it states.

Professor Davies said: "In some areas, like cutting rates of drug resistant MRSA, the NHS is already making good progress so it's important that we use that knowledge across the system and I hope my recommendations will prompt people to do that."

The report will be followed shortly by the publication of the 5-year UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action Plan.

medwireNews is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Kirsty Oswald