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Antimicrobial Resistance

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2018

17. What steps his Department is taking to tackle antimicrobial resistance and inappropriate use of antibiotics; and if he will make a statement. (907225)

We continue to make good progress against our 2013 AMR strategy ambitions. According to the latest figures, since 2013, antibiotic prescriptions dispensed by GPs have decreased by 13%, and sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped by 27%.

That is encouraging to hear because antimicrobial resistance is caused by the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics. Given that we have a Matt Hancock app, should not we have a similar app to try to educate people about when it is appropriate and not appropriate to use antibiotics?

I will look at what can be added to the Matt Hancock app—there is always room for more.

As luck would have it, today Public Health England has launched its latest “Keep Antibiotics Working” national public awareness campaign, which aims to educate the public about the risks of AMR and urges them always to take the advice of their healthcare professionals on antibiotics and, when necessary, to challenge them.

AMR poses a grave threat to health. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, told our Health and Social Care Committee inquiry that if action is not taken to address this

“growing threat, modern medicine will be lost.”

Will the Secretary of State and Ministers heed that warning and ensure that AMR is prioritised?

Absolutely. The UK is a global leader in tackling AMR and we are currently working on the refresh of our strategy. I was at the G20 earlier this month, where Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, showed world leadership and led an exercise with world leaders to strengthen understanding by showing how developed countries would tackle an outbreak.