Antimicrobial Resistance and Sepsis

Health Education England is a key stakeholder in the implementation of the Government’s five year strategy to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

The Government’s five year antimicrobial resistance strategy sets out HEE's role in improving professional education and training about antimicrobial resistance. As well as recommending that the Government campaign internationally for greater recognition of antimicrobial resistance, the strategy outlined how they have a central role in helping to improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.

To achieve this, HEE are working to promote awareness of antimicrobial resistance, encourage those prescribing, dispensing and administrating antibiotics to do so responsibly and with an understanding of antimicrobial resistance, and ensure that it is included in the preventing, management and control of infection curricula for human medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and other professionals.

Raising awareness amongst students about responsibly dispensing and administrating antibiotics

Health Education England has been working jointly with Public Health England to ensure that the competencies developed by the Government’s expert advisory committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection for all those prescribing of antimicrobials are embedded into relevant the curricula. Undergraduate students have expressed interest in receiving more education about antimicrobials, especially about their multidisciplinary use, so these competences provide clarity for regulators, education providers and professional bodies on what competencies they should be incorporating, and should inform standards, guidance and the development of training. Implementing them will also help to improve professional education, training and public engagement to improve clinical practice and promote wider understanding of the need for more sustainable use of antimicrobials.

To begin this work, last year HEE asked higher education institutions about the extent to which these antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship competences have been embedded into their curricula. They also agreed that they needed to identify whether there are any gap areas in the educational resources that are available to support current prescribers with the prescribing of antimicrobials.

A basic introductory free e-learning module on reducing antimicrobial resistance is available to all health and social care staff – both clinical and non-clinical - in a variety of settings to understand the threats posed by antimicrobial resistance, and ways they can help tackle this. Visit the e-Learning for Health website and visit the "how to access" link for more information.

e-Learning for Healthcare: 'News and Deterioration programme'

The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) is a tool developed by the Royal College of Physicians to improve the detection and response to clinical deterioration in adult patients and is a key element of patient safety and improving patient outcomes. The use of this tool in acute and ambulance settings has been endorsed by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

A range of resources are available to support the workforce and organisations in ensuring staff are competent to the recognition and management of deterioration in patients.

e-Learning for Healthcare: 'Think Sepsis'

"THINK SEPSIS" is a Health Education England programme aimed at improving the diagnosis and management of those with sepsis.

123,000 cases of sepsis occur in England each year with approximately 37,000 deaths annually: this is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined. Prompt recognition of sepsis and rapid intervention will help reduce the number of deaths occurring annually.

The learning materials that are available on the e-Learning for Healthcare website support the early identification and management of sepsis.

This website has a film and a wide range of learning materials for primary care, secondary care and paediatrics.

The University of Manchester: Online learning resource on antibiotics and drug resistant infections

The University of Manchester have worked with patients, public and students to develop an easily accessible, free online learning resource, as one way to help increase understanding about antibiotics and drug resistant infections. It is available at