Celebrating World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Celebrating World Antimicrobial Awareness Week
21 November 2022
This week marks the start of this year’s ‘World Antimicrobial Awareness Week’ (18 – 24 November) – sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Help us to spread the word via social media!

Let's prevent antimicrobial resistance by spreading #AMR awareness this World Antimicrobial Awareness Week #WAAW.

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  • Biomedical scientists are crucial in the Blood Culture Pathway. Ensuring that blood cultures are tested, analysed and reported ASAP is a major step in improving patient outcomes. Making sure time to results are as short as possible helps to save patient’s lives. #WAAW #AMR

  • Fast, accurate diagnosis of sepsis through the Blood Culture Pathway, leads to better outcomes for patients AND reduced #AMR through better, more targeted antibiotic prescribing. The benefit is not just for one patient, it is societal. #WAAW

  • Improvement through audit: using the BCP audit tool to track performance and feedback to improve. If we don’t measure it, we can’t improve it. Appoint a designated lead to oversee the improvement work, given the multidisciplinary nature. #WAAW #AMR

  • Improvement through engagement: BCP requires a Board to Ward approach, communicating that all staff involved in the Blood Culture Pathway have a role to play in potentially saving a patient’s life. Trust boards are needed to drive improvements and innovative practices by raising the priority of AMR and blood cultures. #WAAW #AMR
  • Letter to integrated care boards, trusts and all primary care networks to thank organisations for their continued commitment in tackling antimicrobial resistance: NHS England » World antimicrobial awareness week 2022

  • AMR WAAW workspace on FutureNHS for sharing information during the week. On this site you can find regional message packs, assets to support communications and contacts for regional leads.


Additional information

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses and fungi mutate over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and easier to spread. It is a major threat to the UK’s health security, as well as impacting countries across the globe, and is responsible for a significant percentage of prolonged illnesses and premature deaths. In fact, a recent study in the Lancet estimated that, worldwide, 1.27 million deaths were caused by AMR in 2019 alone.


As such, the World Health Organization (WHO) runs an annual campaign to promote awareness of this global phenomenon, helping to push forward a global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antimicrobial medicines. Some of the WHO’s key objectives are to improve understanding of AMR and to encourage best practises among the public.

This year, the theme of the WHO-sponsored Awareness Week is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’. The WHO is taking the opportunity to call on world leaders to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobial drugs and to strengthen preventative measures that address AMR – from the monitoring of drug safety and efficacy, to a focus on the ‘One Health’ approach to ensure patients follow correct procedures for prescribed antibiotics.


In the UK, policymakers published our first national action plan in 2000, and added AMR to the National Risk Register in 2015. However, to contain and control AMR by 2040, the UK will need to set out a cohesive plan – something that will additionally require the close support of industry.

A 2020 report published by ‘Reform, one of the nation’s leading think tanks, highlighted the threat of AMR and made proposals for improving health services. The report emphasises the importance of rapid, accurate diagnostics to support the detection and management of infections.

As well as this, the report focuses on the need to build on the momentum generated following the COVID-19 pandemic, where healthcare scientists developed several new approaches to preventing and controlling infections. In their report, Reform highlights the potential for redirecting this research with a renewed focus on AMR. Given the link between AMR and longer hospital stays, Reform representatives argue that an effective response to AMR will also be central to COVID-19 recovery.

In the long-term, with its 20-year strategy for AMR, the UK government hopes to develop a ‘real-time’ monitoring system supported by a One-Health surveillance service by 2040. The UK is also striving, by the same time, to have one of the lowest rates of infection in humans in the world. Evidently, both objectives will rely heavily on the progress of the biomedical science profession across the country.

Read the full latest Reform report here >>


To support the awareness week and improve our health services’ chances of successfully protecting patients, the AMR programme at NHS England is running a series of five webinars next week – including one on optimising diagnostics by ‘improving your blood culture pathway’.

Read more here >>

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