At Infection Prevention & Control 2020, NHS leaders warned that increased efforts are required to reduce healthcare-associated infections, if we are to win the fight against antimicrobial resistance. With ambitious targets now set to cut Gram-negative bloodstream infections, what role can clinicians have in delivering improvement? Louise Frampton reports
NHS England’s Infection Prevention & Control 2020 conference focussed on the threat posed to public health by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), urging delegates to consider the impact they could have with the slogan: “Antimicrobial resistance and my role is?” Unsurprisingly, the conference also included topical discussion around the new coronavirus (COVID-19) – a late addition to the programme was the inclusion of a session on ‘the challenges of dealing with a coronavirus outbreak’.
Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England, assured delegates that the NHS was “well prepared” for the latter. Although the coronavirus will undoubtedly pose challenges for the health service over the coming months, healthcare leaders have described AMR as a “catastrophic threat”, in the long term. Prof. Powis highlighted the need for stakeholders from all areas of the ‘whole patient pathway’ (hospitals, community-health and the care sector) to co-ordinate a “joined up approach” to tackling AMR.
The National Action Plan for 2019-24 sets out an ambition to reduce resistant infections by 10%, to halve healthcareassociated Gram-negative blood stream infections and reduce antibiotic use in humans by 15%. Infection prevention will be one of the most important weapons in our armoury in the war on AMR.
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