NHS England and Improvement, in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), has selected the first antimicrobial drugs to be purchased via the UK’s innovative ‘subscription-type’ payment model.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) refers to the process by which microorganisms develop defences against antimicrobial drugs, enabling these microorganisms to adapt and become resistant to treatment. It’s a serious problem and has recently been identified as one of the World Health Organization’s top 13 global health challenges in the next decade. Without working antibiotics, routine surgery like caesarean sections or hip replacements will become too dangerous to perform, cancer chemotherapy will become prohibitively high-risk and certain infections will require long and complex treatment; or will no longer be treatable.
Already, the microorganisms that cause many common diseases around the world – including tuberculosis, malaria, gonorrhoea, urinary tract infections and chest infections – can resist a wide range of antimicrobial medicines.
Like all global challenges, leaders in the international community need to come forward and act on AMR, and the UK – with the NHS as the world’s largest single public health system – is taking the initiative.
NHS England and Improvement project leads, Mark Perkins and David Glover, discuss this important step in tackling AMR.