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Terms of reference: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) inquiry

11 September 2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine to which it was originally sensitive.

Resistant organisms (including bacteria, fungi, viruses and some parasites) are able to withstand antimicrobial medicines (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antimalarials) so that standard treatments become ineffective and infections persist, increasing the risk of spread to others. The development of AMR is a natural phenomenon but certain human actions accelerate the emergence and spread of AMR.

The scale of the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the case for action was set out in the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2011, published in March 2013. The Government’s UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018 sets out actions to address the problem of AMR.

The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into antimicrobial resistance. Chair of the Committee Andrew Miller MP stated:

"Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most significant threats to public health today. I am pleased that Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, is taking this seriously. However, we want to find out whether the Government’s current and proposed actions will contribute enough to tackling this serious global threat."

Terms of Reference

The Committee is seeking written submissions on the following matters:

  1.   How has antimicrobial resistance developed in the past decade?
  2. What are the gaps in our knowledge about antimicrobial resistance?
  3. Is there sufficient research and investment into new antibiotics or other treatments and methods to ensure continued protection against infection? If not, how could this be rectified?
  4. What measures (including behavioural change) have been most effective in controlling the spread of resistant pathogens, and could such measures be used to control other pathogens?
  5. What global coordination and action is required to fight antimicrobial resistance and is the UK contributing enough towards cross-border initiatives?
  6. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Government’s 2013-2018 strategy for tackling antimicrobial resistance? What changes might be made to further strengthen the Government’s action plan?

Submitting written evidence

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be submitted online.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. We may also ask you to comment on the process of submitting evidence via the web portal so that we can look to make improvements. If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information or do not wish your details to be used for the purpose of collecting feedback, please advise the Committee providing your full name, address, and if relevant your organisation.

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Wednesday 6 November 2013.

Each submission should:

  1. be no more than 3,000 words in length 
  2. be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
  3. have numbered paragraphs
  4. include a declaration of interests.

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
14 Tothill Street

Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.