• Public Health England gets a grant for research linking prescribing data and health outcomes
  • PHE’s work figuring out how hospitals can be designed to reduce the spread of infections
  • CMO Dame Sally Davies will continue to lead the UK’s fight against antibiotic resistance

The government has unveiled some of the research projects awarded funding from its multi-million-pound fund for fighting anti-microbial resistance.

The Department of Health and Social Care yesterday revealed some of the successful grants from a £32m fund “to accelerate the UK’s work in the global fight against AMR”.

DHSC also said that Dame Sally Davies, the outgoing chief medical officer, will work across government “to deliver a ‘One Health’ response to AMR, which includes health, agriculture and the environment”.

Dame Sally is due to step down as CMO in September when she will become the first female master of Trinity College, Cambridge.

The winning grant applications included a project, led by Public Health England, to link “health outcomes and prescribing data,” gathering real-time data on resistant infections to help doctors “make more targeted choices about when to use antibiotics and cutting unnecessary prescriptions”.

PHE has also been awarded £5m to develop a model ward to “better understand how hospital facilities can be designed to improve infection control and reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant infections”.

This announcement comes after new data released by PHE showed hospital-onset bacterial bloodstream infections from a group of gram-negative bugs in England continue to rise, despite a government programme to halve the number by 2021.

There were also notable increases in infections that arose outside of hospitals. But while onset was in the community, these infections are often associated with hospitals. Around half E coli infections will have started in a hospital or in a patient that had been in hospital in the preceding month.

Therefore hospital and community health providers will need to apply the same interventions “needed to drive down these infections,” Susan Hopkins, deputy director of PHE’s national infection service, told HSJ last week.

Dr Hopkins said in a DHSC statement issued yesterday that the new investment from the AMR fund means PHE “will be able to create the most sophisticated AMR data set globally, enhancing our ability to monitor AMR and design effective interventions to halt its rise”.

Public Health minister Seema Kennedy, said: “Antibiotic resistance poses an enormous risk to our NHS – we are already seeing the harmful effect resistant bugs can have on patient safety in our hospitals.”

“This funding to prop up the facilities for novel ideas and technologies, supported by the continued leadership of Dame Sally, will play a vital role in helping us to tackle this threat,” she added.