The NHS is set to miss two critical targets in tackling AMR – as outlined in a five-year AMR action plan unveiled by the government in 2019. The targets expected to be missed are: reducing the number of three gram-negative bacteria from bloodstream infections in healthcare settings by 25% by March this year, and 50% by 2024.
Current figures show a minimal decline in bloodstream infections caused by bacteria such as E coli – evidently not enough to meet the 25% target for this March. Moreover, an influential advisory committee to the government have stated that realising the 2024 target will be hugely difficult. They attributed this to the multitude of causes of the infections.
While there has been speculation that the 2024 target has been pushed back to 2025, an NHSE spokesperson has rubbished this rumour. Many experts, including Dr Luke Moore of the Healthcare Infection Society, have also concluded that the targets are unlikely to be met.
Senior figures involved in AMR have acknowledged that the pandemic has severely affected progress against gram-negative bacteria. During the pandemic, infection control measures were chiefly focused on limiting the spread of COVID through basic measures, while attempting to control the spread of gram-negative bacteria required a different, more parochial approach.
“We are reducing the incidence of gram-negative bloodstream infections in the UK and have so far commissioned work to model clinical pathways and the impact of various interventions in this area”, stated a DHSC spokesperson.