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:
- 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
- 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.
- Encouraging responsible antibiotic prescribing
- there is a need to improve effective prescribing to help GPs, pharmacists and hospital prescribers to reduce antibiotic prescribing
- Encouraging adequate hydration
- ensure hydration in patient groups at high risk such as those with a urinary tract infection and in the elderly population
- 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.