National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance launched

Date published: 08 May 2024

Health Minister, Robin Swann and Agriculture and Environment Minister, Andrew Muir have welcomed the launch of a UK wide plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

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AMR arises when organisms that cause infection evolve to survive antimicrobial treatment. This makes standard treatments ineffective, allowing infections to arise, persist, and spread. If AMR continues to spread, some infectious diseases, which in the UK would normally be simple to treat with an antibiotic, may become significant new causes of illness and death.

The five-year National Action Plan ’Confronting antimicrobial resistance 2024 to 2029’ builds on progress made over the past two decades to understand and mitigate AMR by strengthening existing UK commitments to prevent infections, optimise the use of antimicrobials, and invest in research and innovation.

The Plan has been jointly developed across the four nations and sets out actions under nine strategic outcomes to address threats to human health and medicine, animal health, food security and the environment.

Health Minister, Robin Swann said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a clear threat to human health. It causes people to suffer longer infections which are more difficult to treat or may even in some cases lead to fatality.

“The National Action Plan launched today is key to mitigating that threat, which can only be achieved by working collaboratively across UK nations and with our partners here in Northern Ireland to preserve and develop these essential medicines for generations to come.”

Agriculture and Environment Minister, Andrew Muir said: “Antimicrobial resistance to veterinary medicines not only affects human, animal health and welfare, but could also severely affect the agricultural industry as a whole through its potential impact on Northern Ireland farming sustainability and trade. Only a ‘One Health’ approach can keep our antibiotics working for all.

“This is why it is critical that we collaborate, not only with other Government Departments, but with key stakeholders in the agriculture, environment and veterinary sectors to build on the success to date highlighted by the 59% decline in UK agriculture antibiotic sales since 2014. This approach will give us the best chance of making progress on the actions set out in this second UK National Action Plan launched today.”

The National Action Plan ’Confronting antimicrobial resistance 2024 to 2029’ can be found at – UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2024 to 2029 - GOV.UK (

Notes to editors: 

  1. The UK 20-year vision is for AMR to be contained and controlled by 2040.
  2. The Plan has been informed by the Call for Evidence on AMR; a summary of its findings can be found at
  3. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  4. Follow us on X @healthdpt and linkedIn Department of Health NI | LinkedIn
  5.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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