What is antimicrobial resistance?

Combatting antimicrobial resistance: Why it matters

Few issues carry the weight and urgency of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the intricate web of public health concerns. With its potential to render life-saving medications ineffective, AMR stands as a formidable challenge to modern medicine. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune delves into understanding its gravity and implications as not just a matter of knowledge but a call to action for all stakeholders in healthcare.

Key facts and statistics

  • AMR contributes to approximately 700,000 deaths globally each year, a number projected to rise to 10 million by 2050 if left unchecked (WHO). 
  • The economic burden of AMR is staggering, estimated at £1.5 billion annually in healthcare costs and productivity losses in the UK alone (UK Government).
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections result in longer hospital stays, increased treatment costs, and higher mortality rates (CDC).

Key definitions

  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) - The ability of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, to resist the effects of medications. 
  • Antibiotics - Medications used to prevent and treat bacterial infections.
  • Superbugs - Microorganisms that have developed resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practices

  • The UK's Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy (2019-2024) outlines a comprehensive approach to tackle AMR, focusing on surveillance, stewardship, research, and innovation (UK Government). 
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 require healthcare providers to have robust systems to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections, including those caused by antimicrobial-resistant organisms (CQC).

Understanding antimicrobial resistance

  • Explore the mechanisms behind AMR and how it develops in various microorganisms. 
  • Highlight the role of overuse and misuse of antibiotics in driving the emergence of resistant strains.

The implications of AMR in healthcare

  • Discuss the consequences of AMR on patient outcomes, healthcare costs, and the efficacy of treatments. 
  • Provide examples of common infections becoming increasingly difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance.

Taking action against AMR

  • Advocate for responsible antibiotic use among healthcare professionals, patients, and the public. 
  • Emphasise the importance of infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings.
  • Encourage investment in research and development of new antimicrobial agents and alternative treatments.


  • Healthcare providers - Implement antimicrobial stewardship programs to promote appropriate antibiotic use and minimise the development of resistance. 
  • Policymakers - Allocate resources towards AMR surveillance, research, and public awareness campaigns.
  • Individuals - Practice good hygiene, complete antibiotic courses as prescribed, and avoid pressuring healthcare professionals for antibiotics when necessary.


In the battle against antimicrobial resistance, ignorance is not an option. Every stakeholder has a role to play in preserving the efficacy of our life-saving medications and safeguarding public health. By understanding the gravity of AMR and taking proactive measures, we can mitigate its impact and ensure a healthier future for future generations.

Take action against antimicrobial resistance. Learn responsible antibiotic use infection prevention, and make a difference. Click here to explore our accredited courses and training and make a difference in combating this global health threat.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

Combatting antimicrobial resistance: Why it matters - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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