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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 52078, tabled on 1 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the levels of precautionary antibiotic prescribed in primary care during the covid1-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to manage the effect of those prescriptions on antimicrobial resistance.

Answered on

18 June 2020

Public Health England’s (PHE’s) English surveillance programme for antimicrobial utilisation and resistance (ESPAUR) is working with the National Health Service and across sectors, to develop and maintain surveillance systems for monitoring trends in antimicrobial use and resistance in England. Data can be viewed on the antimicrobial resistance Fingertips webpage at the following link:

PHE will track the impact of COVID-19 on antimicrobial resistance and utilisation using these established surveillance data systems.

PHE has worked closely with the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop the Treat Antibiotics Responsibly Guidance Education Tools to encourage appropriate antibiotic use. E-learning modules have been developed which cover the management of COVID-19 and the importance of using antibiotics in line with prescribing guidance. The education tools can be viewed at the following link:

PHE is continuously monitoring antimicrobial resistance trends for key organisms isolated from respiratory and blood specimens reported via national laboratory surveillance and will alert stakeholders of changes relevant to clinical therapy decisions and policy recommendations.