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Antimicrobial Resistance National Action Plan 2024 to 2029

Volume 749: debated on Wednesday 8 May 2024

This is a joint statement with the Minister for Biosecurity, Animal Health and Welfare.

Today we are publishing the 2024 to 2029 UK anti-microbial resistance national action plan. This reaffirms the Government’s commitment to preserving the effectiveness of critical medicines for generations to come.

The ability of bacteria—and other pathogens—to develop resistance to the medicines, particularly antibiotics, used to treat them is a significant and growing threat. Antimicrobials underpin modern medicine, enabling critical healthcare, including hip replacements, cancer treatments, and caesarean sections, to be undertaken safely.

The UK is leading the way in the global fight against AMR, both at home and abroad. This is in line with our 20-year vision for AMR to be contained, controlled and mitigated by 2040. This national action plan has been developed through cross-UK working between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In recognition of the shared challenge of AMR—infectious diseases do not respect borders—the four nations of the UK will work together to deliver this plan.

This five-year national action plan for AMR is the second in a series to support achievement of the 20-year vision. It sets out our comprehensive “One Health” approach to confronting AMR, across humans, animals, food and the environment. It sets out an ambitious course of action, strengthening the existing UK commitment to preventing infections, optimising the use of antimicrobials, and investing in research and innovation to address AMR. The plan includes commitments that will help to protect people and animals from drug-resistant infections.

I am proud of the progress the UK has made in tackling AMR over the past five years, with significant achievements in reducing the use of antibiotics in animals, revolutionising the way we pay for antibiotics on the NHS in England, and investing in world-leading research. Without the efforts of the past 10 years, there would have been much higher rates of infection and antimicrobial usage. This Government are committed to continuing to act to mitigate the threat posed by AMR, which requires action across the whole of society.

The next five years mark a critical period in which to confront the threat of AMR. In September 2024, the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on AMR will be the most significant global moment on AMR since the 2016 high-level meeting, which secured a landmark political declaration on AMR. The UK will continue international advocacy for AMR, which is essential to solve this global threat. Looking forward to 2028, the centenary of the discovery of penicillin, the Government have committed £5 million in seed funding to help launch the Fleming Centre, a collaboration led by Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The centre will support the next generation of world-changing health discoveries.

The publication of this national action plan is a significant milestone in confronting the threat of AMR, one of the most pressing challenges humanity faces this century. The national action plan has been published on