Tag Archives: David Cameron

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‘Dementia is not inevitable’ says David Cameron as he becomes President of Alzheimer’s Research UK

Former Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that ‘dementia is not inevitable’ as he became the new President of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Mr Cameron made dementia a focus of his time in office, and in 2012 launched Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge which aimed to find a treatment or cure by 2025.

“Tackling dementia was a major focus while I was Prime Minister, and although improvements in attention and research innovation have been rapid, it remains one of our greatest health challenges,” he said.

“So I’m delighted to take up the Presidency of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an ambitious charity driving medical research to fight this devastating condition.

“As well as being a world-leading research organisation, the charity is also fighting the misconceptions of dementia that persist in society. Dementia is not inevitable and research is our greatest weapon against it.

“I’m committed to helping Alzheimer’s Research UK transform the lives of those affected by this life-shattering condition.”

The former prime minister says he waned to ensure academics searching for treatments are “properly funded”

“We must win the battle of priorities,” he added. “Cancer research and stroke research deserve all their funding – but dementia shouldn’t be so far behind.

“Dementia steals people’s lives, turns their relationships upside down, destroys their hopes and dreams.”

Welcoming Mr Cameron’s appointment, Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that Mr Cameron had done ‘more than anyone’ to keep dementia high on the world’s agenda.

“As a world leader, Mr Cameron has done more than any other to put dementia on the global agenda, driving an ambition shared by all G7 nations to find a disease-modifying treatment by 2025,” she said.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is a hugely ambitious and growing charity, uniquely set-up to tackle our greatest medical challenge. We have a clear focus on pioneering research, working with leading scientists across the UK and the world.

“We are committed to bringing together the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in powerful collaborations that reach breakthroughs faster. David Cameron’s support of our work will help us continue our positive growth and further bolster our research efforts, through which we will end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

Source The Telegraph

Election 2015: Six ways views have changed in six weeks

It is the final day of the election campaign before the UK goes to the polls to vote for the next government. But how have people’s views changed over the past six weeks?

1. How people feel about the election

Top words that describe the campaign

At the beginning of the election campaign, between 27 and 29 March, the words most used to describe the campaign were “excited” and “interested”.

In week six, between 30 April and 5 May, people were still “interested”, but they were also “bored” and “confused” and felt the campaign had been “long”.

First survey based on 768 adults aged 18-75. Second based on 1,085 responses.

2. Which party is doing well

Which party has had the best campaign

In week one, the highest proportion of respondents (27%) thought Labour was having the most effective campaign, compared with week six, when 23% thought the Conservative Party was making the most impact.

The SNP had the biggest peak out of all the parties over the six-week period, after the seven-way party leaders’ TV debate on 2 April, when 32% of respondents said it was having the best campaign.

UKIP, Labour and the Conservatives were most commonly cited as having the “worst week” over the six-week period.

First survey based on 1,500 adults aged 18-75. Second based on 1,085 responses.

3. Who is best leader

Asked which leader had done the best overall in the campaign, 27% said the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and 24% said the Conservative Party’s David Cameron.

Asked which leader “surprised people the most”, 27% said Ms Sturgeon and 14% said Labour’s Ed Miliband.

Based on 1,085 responses between 30 April and 5 May.

4. The party people want to vote for

Has the election campaign changed your mind about how to vote

By week six, 38% of respondents said the election campaign had encouraged them to vote for the party they already supported.

About a quarter (26%) of people said the campaign had had no impact on how they intended to vote, while 9% said the campaign had encouraged them to switch their vote from one party to another.

The election campaign had put 4% of respondents off voting for any party.

Based on 1,085 adults aged 18-75.

5. The most capable prime minister

Which leader is viewed as the most capable pm

David Cameron was seen as the most capable prime minister in week one, with 38% of respondents saying they thought he would do the top job best.

The figure stood at 37% in week six.

By comparison, more people thought Ed Miliband would make the most capable prime minister in week six (24%) than week one (18%).

First survey based on 1,500 adults aged 18-75. Second based on 1,085 responses.

6. How people decide how to vote

The political parties’ national and local policies, their values and their manifestos were the most important factors in deciding how people planned to vote in mid-April (week three), but by week six, party manifestos had become less important (featuring in 65% of responses rather than 81%).

First survey based on 1,243 adults aged 18-75. Second based on 1,085 responses.

This is part of Election Uncut, an online community of more than 2,000 people, aged 18-75, from across the UK, commissioned by BBC News from Ipsos Mori.

Members of the community were recruited privately from Ipsos Mori’s online Access Panel and selected to be representative of the UK population by:

    age
    gender
    region
    work status
    voting intention

They were asked for their thoughts and opinions on a range of issues over the general election campaign.

Source BBC News

Election 2015: Cameron to promise ‘seven-day NHS’ by 2020

All hospitals in England will have consultants on duty seven days a week by 2020 under a future Conservative government, David Cameron is to pledge.

At the Tories’ spring conference, the PM will say more hospitals must provide top-level treatment at the weekend, starting with emergency care.

The move, aimed at cutting weekend mortality rates, builds on plans set out by health service managers.

Labour said Tory plans for “extreme” spending cuts threatened the NHS.

It has put the health service at the forefront of its own election campaign, with leader Ed Miliband promising on Friday to cap the amount of profit private firms can make from the NHS in England.

‘Too hard’

Speaking at the conference in Manchester, Mr Cameron will focus on access to healthcare in hospitals, warning that figures show patients are “more likely to die” if they are admitted at the weekend.

Official studies suggest mortality rates for those admitted on Sundays and Saturdays are 16% and 11% higher respectively than those admitted on Wednesdays.
David Cameron has said the NHS will continue to get an above-inflation rise in funding

While Mr Cameron will praise hospitals already providing top-level weekend services, he will say coverage is often patchy, with some key resources “not up and running and key decision-makers not always there”.

Hospitals across England, he will say, should be expected to offer consultant-level services at the weekend, particularly in accident and emergency, and in supporting urgent care services such as diagnostics.

Growing demand

Mr Cameron will say: “For years it has been too hard to access the NHS out of hours.

“But illness does not respect working hours. Heart attacks, major accidents, babies – these things don’t just come from nine to five.

“With a future Conservative government, we would have a truly seven-day NHS. Already millions of people can see a GP seven days a week but by 2020 I want this for everyone… [to be] the first country in the world to make it happen.”

This, he will say, will reduce the anxiety for patients and help the NHS to meet the growing demand from an ageing population.

It will also relieve the pressure on junior doctors at weekends while maximising the use of equipment and facilities, the PM will add.

‘Compelling’

Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said the plans were not credible without investment in extra NHS staff.

“At the last election, David Cameron promised seven-day NHS services in his manifesto. Five years on, he’s making the same promise again,” he said.

“With the NHS in increasing financial distress, David Cameron must set out clearly how it will be paid for. His extreme plans for spending cuts will mean they won’t be able to protect the NHS.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS’s medical director, has said the case for seven-day healthcare is “absolutely compelling, both clinically and morally”.

New clinical standards set out in 2013 require hospitals to provide seven-day access to diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, ultrasound, MRI scans and pathology, as well as providing access to multi-disciplinary teams, which include expert nurses and physiotherapists.

In its blueprint for services over the next five years, published last October, NHS England said hospital patients should have access to seven-day services by 2020 – “where this makes a clinical difference to outcomes”.

At the same time, NHS England warned the health service could face an £8bn shortfall in funding by 2020.

The Conservatives have pledged to guarantee a real-term increase in funding for the NHS during the next Parliament, extending the ring-fence in place for the past five years. Labour has said it will spend £2.5bn more than its opponents.

Source BBC News

Government pledges £300m on dementia research

More than £300m is to be spent by the government on research into dementia, the prime minister has announced.

David Cameron said an international dementia institute would be established in England over the next five years in a bid to make the UK a world leader for research and medical trials.

Some 1.3 million NHS workers will also receive additional training in how to care for people with dementia.

The PM said dementia was “one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime”.

There are approximately 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with the number expected to hit a million within the next 10 years.

‘Bold ambition’

The government said a separate multimillion-pound fund would be launched within weeks to help establish an international investment scheme to discover new drugs and treatments that could slow the onset of dementia, or even deliver a cure, by 2025.

It hopes the global fund will bring together investment from the private, public and philanthropic sectors under a single scheme to pay for research projects into the disease.

Faster assessments by GPs are also included in the prime minister’s challenge on dementia 2020 plans.

The prime minister first launched the dementia challenge for England in March 2012, building on the previous government’s national dementia strategy.

Mr Cameron visited High Wycombe to meet people with dementia and dementia friends – people who are able to spot signs of the illness and help sufferers.

He said: “What today’s announcement is about is a very simple but bold ambition, and that is to make the United Kingdom the best place on the planet in terms of researching into dementia, in terms of diagnosing people with dementia and then in terms of treating, helping and caring for them.”

Signs of dementia

  •     Struggling to remember recent events
  •     Problems following conversations
  •     Forgetting the names of friends or objects
  •     Repeating yourself
  •     Problems with thinking or reasoning
  •     Confusion in familiar places

The NHS workers receiving extra training on how to provide best standards of care for people with dementia will range from surgeons to hospital porters, the government said.

There are also plans to give three million more “dementia friends” training in how to support those with the condition.

Other pledges include having the majority of people in England living in “dementia-friendly communities” in five years’ time by making shops, transport and other public places more accessible to people with the condition.
Alzheimer’s patient Two thirds of dementia sufferers in the UK are women

Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham welcomed the announcement but said more needed to be done to support dementia sufferers now.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable older people have lost social care support since David Cameron entered Downing Street. Social care in England is close to collapse but this government is in denial about it.”

Professor Simon Lovestone, from Oxford University, said recent trials for new drugs had failed.

“We now need to do better clinical trials, we need to do them earlier in the disease process, and for that we need tests for early diagnosis and we need better drugs,” he said.

“And I think that the announcement that’s been made today, together with the investment that’s already been made in the UK, puts the UK at the leading front of a truly international effort that will actually deliver on this.”

Professor Nigel Hooper, dementia researcher at the University of Manchester, told BBC Breakfast £300m was “a great investment” but said cancer research received five times as much funding globally as dementia.

Initial dementia assessments will take place in an average of six weeks and will be followed by support such as informing sufferers of local services that can help them, as well as advice for their carers.

Source BBC News

Scheme to improve dementia research

A new scheme that makes it easier for people to take part in dementia research launches today.

It is hoped the new scheme, which allows anyone who wants to take part in studies to register online or over the phone, will boost much-needed participation in research into the condition, which affects more than 850,000 people in the UK.

A recent poll found that almost two thirds (62%) of the public would be willing to take part in dementia research, but more than four out of five (62%) did not know how to volunteer.

Fewer than 5% of people with dementia currently take part in research studies, Alzheimer’s Research UK said.

Join Dementia Research will connect people interested in research to suitable dementia studies across England, Scotland and Wales.

Anyone aged 18 years or over can sign themselves up, or do so on behalf of another, by visiting the website joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk or calling the helplines of Alzheimer’s Research UK on 0300 111 5 111 or the Alzheimer’s Society on 0300 222 1122.

The scheme has been developed as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020, which was announced on Saturday to tackle the ever-growing problem.

David Cameron said more than £300 million is to be spent by the Government on research while all NHS staff will have to undergo training in the condition.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “New research is desperately needed to help the growing numbers of people who live with dementia, which is why we’re doubling the size of the funding pot.

“This is an important initiative, and I encourage anyone who is interested to visit the website or call the charity helplines to find out more about how they can help us tackle dementia.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: “This superb initiative was developed to help ensure we can meet the ambitious targets for recruitment to high-quality research studies, set by the Prime Minister in his challenge on dementia.

“Join Dementia Research is a potential pathfinder for other fields, showing how to boost patient and public participation in research.”

Source Mail Online

New medal for medical staff and military personnel who battled Ebola Prime Minister announces new medal for doctors, nurses and soldiers who battled Ebola epidemic in west Africa

Doctors, nurses and military personnel who travelled to West Africa to battle Ebola will receive a new medal, the Prime Minister has announced.

David Cameron said that the 2,000 UK nationals who took part in the fight against Ebola will be eligible for the medal. Hundreds of NHS workers responded to a nationwide appeal and travelled to Sierra Leone, risking their lives to stop the epidemic.

Mr Cameron said that he was in talks with the Queen over a new campaign medal to be awarded for volunteering to help with the Ebola crisis.

Mr Cameron announced the new medal during his weekly questions in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister said it was to mark the “immense debt of gratitude” owed by the country.

NHS medics train to tackle to Ebola in Sierra Leone

The medal will be an “Order of Wear” decoration, so that military personnel can also wear it.

Pauline Cafferkey and Will Pooley are two British nurses who contracted the virus after working in Sierra Leone. Both recovered after being treated in the UK.

The number of people contracting Ebola has fallen dramatically in recent weeks, although more than 7,800 people have died, almost all in West Africa, since it broke out a year ago.

The World Health Organization says the number of people infected by the disease in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has now passed 20,000.

Most of the British health staff worked at the Kerry Town complex outside the capital Freetown. The facility was built by British military personnel and includes an 80-bed treatment centre managed by Save the Children.

Mr Cameron was asked by Conservative MP Margot James whether the bravery of people working to tackle the “scourge” of Ebola would be recognised.

The prime minister agreed, saying they were “incredibly brave people who have worked in very difficult conditions, including many of them over Christmas”.

He said: “They are the people who are helping to save thousands of lives in Africa and protecting the UK from the potentially disastrous consequences of the disease spreading. In recognition of the bravery of those from the UK, I intend to recommend to Her Majesty the Queen a new medal to pay tribute to their efforts.” 

Source The Telegraph

Cabinet ministers take part in dementia exercise

David Cameron and his Cabinet took part in an exercise in which they imagined what it would be like to suffer from dementia, to help them understand the toll taken by the disease on completing everyday tasks.

Members of the Government were asked to place themselves in the position of a dementia sufferer, by working through the number of steps required to brew a cup of tea.

A healthy person takes around 10 individual steps to prepare a hot drink, but ministers were told this can be between 30 and 90 steps for someone with dementia, who may forget whether their kettle is gas or electric, or where the cups are stored.

As part of the weekly meeting of Cabinet, ministers heard from Eileen Sills, the chief nurse of Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital, and Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, which runs the Dementia Friends scheme.

It is designed to make members of the public more considerate of people struggling with mental degeneration – for example, being patient with those struggling to pay in a shop or finding the right bus.

“He took the entire Cabinet through an awareness exercise that is part of the Dementia Friends training, that tries to help you feel yourself in the shoes of someone who may be suffering from dementia, so you can be aware of some of the support needs they have,” the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said, in a regular briefing on

“It’s when you hear these things that it becomes really quite powerful. It did bring it home to everyone who was attending Cabinet.”

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, asked Cabinet members to instruct civil servants in their respective departments to undergo the training and become Dementia Friends, a call the PM endorsed.

Some 600,000 people have taken part in Dementia Friends training, with a national target of one million.

Source The Guardian

10,000 patients still waiting more than 62 days for cancer treatment despite urgent referrals by their GP

Thousands of patients are having to wait too long to start vital treatment for cancer.

The NHS recommends that no one should wait longer than 62 days after being referred urgently by their GP for suspected cancer.

The target requires 85 per cent of patients to be seen, but this fell to 84.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2014-15, resulting in 10,000 patients waiting too long, say campaigners.

The target was also breached for the first time since 2009 in the preceding quarter – the last quarter of 2013-14.

The number of people waiting more than 62 days in the first six months of 2014 was 9,906.

Figures from NHS England also show that the two-week wait target for women with breast symptoms, not initially thought to be cancer, was breached.

The target says 93 per cent of women should be seen quickly by a specialist, but in the last quarter for which figures are available this year it was 90.3 per cent.

Mike Hobday, director of policy and research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘It’s simply not good enough that the cancer waiting time target for patients to begin treatment following an urgent GP referral has been breached in England for the second quarter in a row.

‘Around 10,000 people have already had to wait longer than the recommended 62 days to start their treatment this year.

‘Furthermore, there has been a ten-fold increase over the last year in the number of hospital trusts where patients with suspected cancer are waiting longer than two weeks to be seen by a specialist.

‘This shows that the current system simply isn’t working and people with cancer are being badly let down.
 
Mr Hobday added: ‘We have some of the poorest survival rates for cancer in Europe and Macmillan is calling on all the political parties to prioritise cancer ahead of the next general election.’

Luciana Berger, Labour’s public health spokesman, said: ‘These figures are yet another warning sign the NHS is heading in the wrong direction.

Over 9,900 patients had to wait more than 62 days for treatment in the first six months of 2014. the two-week wait target for women with breast symptoms (file image), not initially thought to be cancer, was also breached

Over 9,900 patients had to wait more than 62 days for treatment in the first six months of 2014. The two-week wait target for women with breast symptoms (file image), not initially thought to be cancer, was also breached

‘David Cameron claimed his NHS re-organisation would improve cancer care. The reality is that he has in fact made it worse.’ NHS England said the number of patients being referred urgently for cancer investigations had gone up by 18 per cent in the last year.

In 2013-14 there were 1.3million people referred urgently compared with just over 1million in 2010-11.

Criticised: luciana berger, labour¿s public health spokesman, said david cameron's (pictured) nhs re-organisation has worsened cancer care

Criticised: Luciana Berger, Labour’s public health spokesman, said David Cameron’s (pictured) NHS re-organisation has worsened cancer care

NHS England said it was setting up a taskforce, with Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, to help the NHS maintain waiting time standards and tackle under-performance where necessary.

Sean Duffy, NHS England’s Clinical Director for Cancer, said it was performing well under pressure.

He added: ‘It is really good news the number of patients being diagnosed and treated for cancer early is on the rise. We have been encouraging patients to step forward early and they are.

‘We are now treating more people than ever before and as a result the NHS is helping more people than ever survive.

‘Over the last five years we have seen a 51 per cent increase in the number of patients referred within two weeks for suspected cancer symptoms, which is good news for improving early diagnosis and survival.

‘We continue to treat the vast majority of patients within a month of deciding treatment is needed and it is imperative that we focus on maintaining waiting times standards as demand for care increases.’

Last night the Department of Health announced that an extra £250million was being given to hospitals and GP-led organisations to keep waiting times down.

It follows figures showing that an extra 250,000 patients are waiting for planned surgery or treatment compared to this time last year.

A spokesman said the increase was partly due to the ageing population, which means more patients are being referred by GPs.

 

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David Cameron’s Accident and Emergency ‘spin’ to be scrutinised by non-partisan UK stats watchdog

The Prime Minister told MPs this week that Accident and Emergency waiting times had gone down under the Coalition Government.

However, the House of Commons Library challenged the reliability of his statement, pointing out that typical waits had remained unchanged, while total time spent in Accident and Emergency had actually risen for patients with the most serious conditions.

The claim, along with a similar statement made in June by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, will now be investigated by UKSA, the stats watchdog whose chairman Sir Andrew Dilnot last year criticised Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith for misusing figures.
 
Labour have accused the Prime Minister of “cynical spin”. The shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, who alerted the UKSA to the contested statements on Friday, said that Mr Cameron had “serious questions to answer”.

The investigation comes as official NHS statistics reveal that a record number of people attended Accident and Emergency departments between April and June, while the country’s major Accident and Emergency departments have now failed to meet the target of seeing 95 per cent of patients in less than four hours for 50 consecutive weeks.

Accident and Emergency performance is seen as a key barometer of the health of the wider NHS, and there are concerns at the highest level of Government that the health service, which has had to cope with five years of efficiency savings and ever increasing demand, is beginning to show signs of serious strain.

Conservative leaders are fearful that an Accident and Emergency crisis this winter, when pressure on emergency departments typically spikes, could damage voters’ confidence in the party’s stewardship of the NHS.

Mr Burnham said that the Prime Minister was “failing to face up to what is happening on the ground”.

“It is deadly serious out there and he is spinning a different story,” he said. “What is urgently needed is honesty from the Prime Minister and a plan to turn round pressure on Accident and Emergency departments.”

Mr Cameron’s original claim that Accident and Emergency waits were down was based upon data which shows the mean average wait from the moment a patient arrives at Accident and Emergency to the moment they are first assessed by a medical professional had dropped from 77 minutes under the Labour government to 30 minutes under the Coalition.

This claim was challenged in a blog posted online by the politically neutral House of Commons Library, which pointed out that the median average wait was a more reliable measure, and had remained unchanged at 10 minutes for several years.

Furthermore, the Commons Library said that measuring the time between arrival and first assessment was “not a natural indicator of the typical waiting time in Accident and Emergency”.

This original version of the blog, which stated that the PM’s claims were based on “a simplistic reading of the data” was removed from the Commons Library website on Thursday night, with the Library stating that it had not met its own “expected standards of impartiality”.

A House of Commons spokesperson said that the decision to remove the blog had been “removed by the Commons library on its own initiative”.

“There was no discussion with No 10, or with any other Government department on the matter,” the spokesperson said.

A new, edited version of the blog was posted today, standing by the original analysis but carrying a message explaining that “the description of the Prime Minister and Health Secretary’s use of these statistics did not meet our expected standards of impartiality”.

Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine said that the debate about these figures was of “limited value”.

“The important figures [for Accident and Emergency departments] remain the demand (attendances and admissions) versus supply (head count of senior decision makers). This ratio is not improving and in many places is getting worse,” he said.

The emphasis being placed on Accident and Emergency pressures was signalled again today as the Department of Health announced that £1bn of its flagship Better Care Fund – a major reallocation of resources from the NHS to the social care sector – will be held back unless local authorities can meet targets on reducing emergency admissions to hospital, by providing preventative care in the community.

A spokesperson for the UKSA said: “The UK Statistics Authority is currently reviewing various ministerial statements recently made in the House of Commons about waiting times in Accident and Emergency units in England, and has seen an online article published on 3 July by the House of Commons Library. The Authority will publish its findings when our investigations are complete.”
 

Source The Independent

Antibiotic resistance: Cameron warns of medical ‘dark ages’

The world could soon be “cast back into the dark ages of medicine” unless action is taken to tackle the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

He has announced a review into why so few anti-microbial drugs have been introduced in recent years.

Economist Jim O’Neill will lead a panel including experts from science, finance, industry, and global health.

It will set out plans for encouraging the development of new antibiotics.
‘Taking the lead’

The prime minister said: “If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again.”

Mr Cameron said he discussed the issue at a G7 leaders meeting in Brussels earlier this month and got specific support from US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It is hoped that the review panel’s proposals will be discussed at next year’s G7 summit, which will be hosted by Germany.

“Penicillin was a great British invention by Alexander Fleming back in 1928,” Mr Cameron told the BBC. “It’s good that Britain is taking the lead on this issue to solve what could otherwise be a really serious global health problem.”

He said the panel would analyse three key issues: the increase in drug-resistant strains of bacteria, the “market failure” which has seen no new classes of antibiotics for more than 25 years, and the over-use of antibiotics globally.

‘Time bomb’

It is estimated that drug-resistant strains of bacteria are responsible for 5,000 deaths a year in the UK and 25,000 deaths a year in Europe.

bacteria

bacteria A resistant strain of bacteria

Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Dame Sally Davies has been a key figure helping to get the issue on the government and global agenda.

Last year she described the threat of antimicrobial resistance as a “ticking time bomb” and said the dangers it posed should be ranked along with terrorism.

She spoke at a meeting of scientists at the Royal Society last month which warned that a response was needed akin to efforts to combat climate change.

Dame Sally said: “I am delighted to see the prime minister taking a global lead by commissioning this review.

“New antibiotics made by the biotech and pharmaceutical industry will be central to resolving this crisis which will impact on all areas of modern medicine.”
Antibiotics dates of discovery timeline

Medical research charity the Wellcome Trust is providing £500,000 of funding for Mr O’Neill and his team, which will be based at their headquarters in central London.

Antimicrobial resistance has been a key issue for Jeremy Farrar, since he became director of the Wellcome Trust last year.

“Drug-resistant bacteria, viruses and parasites are driving a global health crisis,” he said.

“It threatens not only our ability to treat deadly infections, but almost every aspect of modern medicine: from cancer treatment to Caesarean sections, therapies that save thousands of lives every day rely on antibiotics that could soon be lost.”

‘Market failure’

Antibiotics have been an incredible success story, but bacteria eventually develop resistance through mutation.

One example is MRSA, which has been a major threat for years in hospitals. It is resistant to all but the most powerful of antibiotics, and the main weapon against it is improved hygiene, which cuts the opportunity for infection to spread.

Without antibiotics a whole raft of surgical procedures would be imperilled, from hip replacements to cancer chemotherapy and organ transplants.

Before antibiotics, many women died after childbirth after developing a simple bacterial infection.

Mr O’Neill is a high-profile economist who is best-known for coining the terms Bric and Mint – acronyms to describe countries which are emerging and potential powerhouses of the world economy.

He is not, though an expert on antibiotics or microbes. But Mr Cameron told the BBC it was important to have an economist heading the review:

“There is a market failure; the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t been developing new classes of antibiotics, so we need to create incentives.”

Jeremy Farrar said: “This is not just a scientific and medical challenge, but an economic and social one too which would require analysis of regulatory systems and behavioural changes to solve them.”

Mr O’Neill will begin work in September and is expected to deliver his recommendations next spring.

Last month antibiotic resistance was selected as the focus for the £10m Longitude Prize, set up to tackle a major challenge of our time. 

Source BBC News