Julian meets Minister on pandemic-style antibiotic resistance threat
July 26, 2021
Last week, Julian met with Minister for the Environment Rebecca Pow, introducing her to academic researchers from Exeter University, who have proposals for how the government’s Environment Bill could be improved to better counter the risk of antibiotic resistance driven by antimicrobial residues in water and sewage.
The growth of antibiotic- and drug-resistant infection is one of the greatest threats to global health, having the potential to be even more catastrophic than coronavirus. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to antibiotics being used against them, and become able to resist the use of these medicines. This means vital medicines for common infectious diseases cease to work, and these conditions become much harder to combat.
Conditions like pneumonia and TB are already proving more difficult to treat as a result, and everyday procedures like caesareans and hip operations could become too dangerous to carry out. Already 50,000 deaths each year in Europe and North America are attributed to resistance, and it is projected that 10 million people will die annually across the globe by 2050 unless steps are taken.
Julian is chair of Parliament’s All-Party Group on Antibiotics, and has therefore led on this vital issue for several years. Last summer he organised a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister signed by 35 MPs and peers, calling for more high-level leadership and coordination across government on the issue from UK ministers.
After the meeting, Julian said: ‘I was very pleased to be able to facilitate these suggestions being put to the Minister, and am glad the government is open-mined on how we go about tackling the enormous challenge of resistance.
The ongoing virus situation is graphic evidence of how devastating public health emergencies can be, so decisionmakers have a serious responsibility to enhance current efforts to tackle the proven risk of antibiotic resistance.
This looming risk threatens York as much as anywhere, and I will continue to press the government wherever possible on this to protect my constituents.”