Preventing Infections and Reducing Antimicrobial Resistance

A search has been launched with the aim to find innovative technologies that will support health and social care workers to overcome the challenges of tackling antimicrobial resistance.

As part of the Health Network North initiative that focuses upon unmet needs, the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) in partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement are calling for applications from innovators from all areas, whether businesses, individuals, universities, NHS teams or charities – who are interested in forming collaborations to develop solutions to the challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Increasing rates of AMR is one of the major threats to human health.  In January 2019 the UK government published a 5-year action plan and a 20-year vision , building on the achievements of the 2013-2018 5-year plan.  The current plans include reducing drug-resistant infections by 10% by 2025, reducing antibiotic use in humans by 15%, and reducing gram negative blood stream infections.

Failure to address the problem of AMR could result in an estimated 10 million deaths every year globally by 2050. The burden of infections caused by antibiotic resistance continues to rise, highlighting the necessity for effective prevention. Tackling AMR in human health alone requires changes in infection prevention and control, prescribing, diagnostics and data – this will enable us to prevent infections, ensure we use right antibiotics at the right time and the enablers for doing this are in place.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have identified five challenges to tackling AMR:

  1. Training and education
  • of health and social care workers including advice and guidance, antimicrobial stewardship programmes, hand hygiene, checklists and education messages on AMR to prevent the spread of infection and reduce the need for antibiotics
  • of the general public on inappropriate antibiotic use and the dangers of misuse and self-care advice including good hygiene practices such as hand washing
  1. Diagnostic tests including at point of care across the pathway that meet

           national and international standards

  • a need for rapid diagnostic tools to help health professionals identify an infection within minutes
  • evidence of the benefit to patients and value to health and care systems.
  1. Encouraging responsible antibiotic prescribing
  • there is a need to improve effective prescribing to help GPs, pharmacists and hospital prescribers to reduce antibiotic prescribing
  1. Encouraging adequate hydration
  • ensure hydration in patient groups at high risk such as those with a urinary tract infection and in the elderly population
  1. Surveillance programme and improved data systems
  •  the linking of data to be able to understand the existing challenge and pathways of AMR including patient access points and prescribing habits to more effectively target interventions.

Funding is available to support the development of these solutions.

The deadline for applications for the antimicrobial resistance call is 31st January 2020.

The successful innovators from the call will receive bespoke assistance and a financial award from the AHSN NENC and the Innovation SuperNetwork and will be guided through the Innovation Pathway to develop the solutions.


Russell Watkins

Commercial Director at AHSN NENC

Commercial Director at the AHSN NENC and oversees the Economic Growth team.  Previously, Russ was Assistant Director of Business Innovation at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he led on innovation and new business.  Russ has held a variety of roles in the healthcare sector throughout the North East.

Dr Sharon Saint Lamont

National Lead Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) at NHS England and NHS Improvement

During a long as a nurse and then a health care academic and latterly the national lead for Antimicrobial Resistance, this desire for new information and new ways of thinking and doing has continued as she seeks out enthusiastic and positive people who have the best ideas to help improve the experiences of patients and staff.

Stuart Brown

Lead Pharmacist at County Durham and Darlington Trust

Stuart Brown currently works as the lead pharmacist for antimicrobial resistance at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and has spent the last 10 years working within Secondary care. He is a keen advocate of antimicrobial stewardship, presenting on this at both local and national conferences.

Stuart works closely with his colleagues in primary and secondary care and is the current chair of the Antimicrobial Pharmacist Group in the North East of England.

Mike McGuire

Local Professional Network Chair, Cumbria and the North East, NHS England

As MD/Community Pharmacist at Marton Pharmacy in Middlesbrough, Michael has transformed the health and wellbeing of his community.  In 2009, Michael won the UK Community Pharmacist of the Year Award,and has since won national awards for Excellence in Training, Innovation and Excellence in Business, and an award from Mayor Ray Mallon for Services to the Community. Michael is an Honorary Lecturer at Newcastle University School of Pharmacy and has recently been instrumental in creating and launching the Award-Winning NHS111 Community Pharmacy Referral Service, which has evolved into the national NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service.

Arlene Pattern

Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Arlene has been a nurse for 38 years she’s worked in a community and is passionate about the challenges facing the NHS.

Anna Swann

Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I started working in the NHS in 1984, training as a Registered General Nurse working in spinal injuries, then as a Registered Sick Childrens Nurse, working predominantly in paediatric oncology. I have been working in the field of Infection Prevention and Control since the beginning of 2005 and have seen a huge change in relation to Infection Prevention and Control and the challenges faced by the NHS and Social Care, in particular antimicrobial resistance and the increase in resistant bacteria.

Imran Ahmed

Consultant Neonates, Deputy Director of Innovation (Device and Digital) at South Tyneside and SUnderland NHS Foundation Trust

Imran Ahmed is a Neonatal Consultant; his early medical training was in Southern India. He started his Paediatric career in Scotland 19 years ago, he was trained in Neonatology in Edinburgh and Birmingham. He has been a neonatal consultant at University Hospitals North Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent eventually moving to Sunderland in 2014. His interest in Innovation started in his early years training as a sub specialist in Neonatal Medicine and has continued in his post as a Consultant. He took on the shared role of Deputy Director in Sep 2016 at CHS. He oversees Innovations in the “Digital & Device Space.