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Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy

Volume 564: debated on Tuesday 11 June 2013

15. What progress has been made on implementation of the UK five-year antimicrobial resistance strategy. (158880)

We will shortly be seeking cross-Government clearance to publish the UK strategy, which addresses the challenges raised in the chief medical officer’s annual report and sets out the priority areas for action, such as slowing down the spread of resistance, maintaining the efficacy of antimicrobials and supporting the development of new antimicrobials.

In January, the chief medical officer warned that the threat from antibiotic-resistant infections was so serious that it should be added to the Government’s national register of civil emergencies, the national risk register, alongside deadly flu outbreaks or catastrophic terrorist attacks. My hon. Friend is preparing a new cross-Government strategy on antibiotics. Given the growing evidence linking the routine use of antibiotics on intensive farms with antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, can she confirm that the strategy will tackle that reckless practice, regardless of pressure from industry?

I could give my hon. Friend a long answer, but in short, the matter will be raised at the next G8 meeting. Further to that, as a result of his excellent debate earlier this year, I undertook to write, and have done so, to my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He has replied that the Government recognise that we should look at the guidance issued to farmers. I am more than happy to share the Minister’s letter with my hon. Friend.