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Antimicrobial Resistance

Volume 605: debated on Tuesday 9 February 2016

13. What progress his Department has made on making the UK a world leader in tackling antimicrobial resistance. (903546)

The UK continues to play a global leadership role on antimicrobial resistance. We co-sponsored the World Health Organisation’s 2015 global action plan on AMR, created the Fleming fund to help poorer countries tackle drug resistance, and are promoting action through the G7. The O’Neill AMR review is galvanising global awareness.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global challenges for public health, making routine operations impossible within 10 or 15 years unless action is taken. I welcome the Government’s action on this. Antibiotic Research UK is the world’s first charitable organisation, set up in my constituency, to tackle this issue. Will the Minister look at how we might fund such organisations in the charitable sector?

I very much welcome the fact that my hon. Friend is becoming a real champion of this important international and national agenda. I am aware of the important work of the charity he mentions, and I believe it has already had some contact with the Department. I do not make the decisions on these sorts of funding issues, but I am happy to look at the issue he mentions and to meet him to discuss it.

UK health and medical research projects benefit hugely from European Union funding, with the UK at the top of the table for approved grants. That funding is vital if we are to tackle global health challenges such as resistance to antibiotics. Does the Minister accept that pulling Britain out of the EU may have a detrimental impact on the UK’s role as a world leader in health research and development?

I reassure the House that the vital funds mentioned by the hon. Lady are protected in the spending review.