Science and Technology Committee publishes inquiry report – Ensuring access to working antimicrobials

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy welcomes publication of the Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Antimicrobial Resistance Ensuring access to working antimicrobialsThe report is wide ranging, reporting on evidence received and making recommendations in relation to human, veterinary, agricultural and environmental use of antimicrobial agents.


Dr Nicholas Brown, BSAC President and Consultant Microbiologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge said: “This report once again reiterates the need to act now to preserve the efficacy our current but diminishing stock of antimicrobial agents.  Current practices across human and veterinary health contribute to the rise in numbers of resistant bacteria and it is imperative that steps are identified and put in place immediately to stem this.”  He continued “Only through significant investment in research, stewardship and monitoring plus professional and public education and engagement will we make the difference that is needed”.


Professor Laura Piddock, BSAC Chair in Public Engagement and Director of Antibiotic Action had this to say: “The recommendations are clear – action is needed and it is needed now.  As Andrew Miller MP highlights, the Prime Minister’s announcement last week on the establishment of a Commission to identify appropriate incentives to encourage the development of new antimicrobials is important – but this must not delay progress in this area.  Antimicrobial resistance is incrementally reducing our ability to treat serious infections, in particular multi-drug resistant infections. Government departments in the UK and abroad must work in tandem with the work of the Commission. Furthermore, funding for basic science and research across all sectors must be identified to facilitate greater understanding of the problems we face so that solutions can be found. Health systems must be improved wherever possible and without delay to support healthcare practitioners to prescribe antibiotics appropriately and effectively”.


The BSAC President-Elect and Professor of Infectious Disease at University of Dundee, Professor Dilip Nathwani said: “The report rightly identifies the shortcomings in the delivery of antimicrobial stewardship programmes and data collection systems that can effectively inform and lead to improvements in prescribing”.  He added “BSAC is acutely aware that the education of healthcare professionals is key to improving effective prescribing, as is the availability of robust data on antimicrobial prescribing.  The Society already has a number of initiatives in this area including the development of Massive Open Online Course on Antimicrobial Stewardship and a National Point Prevalence Survey system.  Both will be offered open access to all UK health administrations and we look forward to helping deliver solutions to the problems rather than continually rehearsing what the problems are.”