The threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents arguably the greatest patient safety challenge of our time. It has been widely reported that the world is on the cusp of a ‘post-antibiotic era’, with the growth in treatment-resistant bacteria raising the prospect that modern medicine will be increasingly unable to treat what are currently considered to be routine infections. Without effective antibiotics, cancer treatments, childbirth and many other operations would also be far riskier. If we are unable to reverse this trend, it has been estimated that AMR could kill up to 10 million people a year by 2050, with a cumulative cost to the global economy of £70 trillion.
Evidence suggests that we may also be nearing this cusp sooner than originally thought. In December 2015, a report in the Lancet Journal of Infectious Diseases demonstrated that certain strains of bacteria found in patients and livestock across China had started to become resistant to the ‘last resort’ antibiotic colistin.8 This development effectively means that bacteria causing a number of gut, urinary and blood infections in humans are at risk of developing pan-resistance, and could become untreatable by all currently-available antibiotics.
In recognition, this report explores the extent to which Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), key organisations in terms of delivering local antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programmes, are taking the challenge on-board and enacting key recommendations helping to manage the threat of AMR.
Read the full report here