Antibiotic Resistance

University Senior Leadership Team and SU Exec Officers support the Antibiotic Awareness campaign, led at UoM by Roger Harrison, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Lead for Social Responsibility in the Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care.

Find out why antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today and pledge to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics HERE


  • It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections – that’s 13 people every day
  • Inappropriate use of antibiotics is causing a global epidemic of antibiotic resistance
  • One in four people in the North West has never heard of antibiotic resistance


This month Public Health England launches a new campaign in the North West of England informing people that antibiotics don’t work for everything and stressing the importance of taking their doctor’s advice about whether they need them. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily causes dangerous bacteria to become resistant which means they may not work when they are really needed.

It is estimated that 5,000 people die each year in England as a result of antibiotics no longer working for some infections – that’s 13 people every day.1 In around 30 years we could see 60,000 people die every year because antibiotics have stopped helping them – that’s around 160 deaths a day.

However, despite the dangers posed by antibiotic resistance, one in four people in the North West (23%) has never heard of the issue.  Furthermore, 40% of people in the North West don’t realise that if someone has taken antibiotics in the last year, any infection they get is more likely to be antibiotic resistant. If someone takes antibiotics unnecessarily they are less likely to work when needed. They can also pass on antibiotic resistant bacteria to loved ones.

Antibiotics are an important tool for doctors and healthcare professionals to help treat serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, meningococcal meningitis and sepsis and to help ward off infections during chemotherapy, caesarean sections and other surgery. However, antibiotics are being used for everyday viral infections, such as colds or flu, where they are not effective.

In conjunction with the campaign, a powerful film has been released by Public Health England which highlights the possible consequences of failing to take action on antibiotic resistance – showing a world where treatable common infections, minor injuries and routine operations might kill once again.

The University of Manchester will be supporting this campaign through a number of initiatives and the Students’ Union and Public Health England are working in partnership to widely promote the campaign to students and staff on and off campus. A series of interviews with the University’s leading academics working to tackle antimicrobial resistance will be published via our social media channels and a new game-based mobile application for school children through to adults to learn more about antibiotic resistance has been launched.  In addition to these actions, staff will be taking conducting a review of teaching curriculum for key healthcare professionals to ensure they are highly skilled and knowledgeable on this topic, plus an event at Hull Science Festival on this subject has been scheduled.

Roger Harrison, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Divisional Lead for Social Responsibility said,

“I’m delighted to be leading this new partnership with the Students’ Union, Public Health England and Division of Population Health, Health Services Research & Primary Care at the UoM. This is a fantastic way to get the right message out to the tens of thousands of students, staff, and their families through this new initiative”

The campaign will run in the Granada region on TV, radio, press and will be supported by local GP surgeries and pharmacies, social media and PR. For further information on antibiotic resistance please search NHS Antibiotics or visit


Of the several thousand visitors to Manchester Museum's BodyExperience2017, over 800 visited the "beat the bugs" campaign. This campaign is led by Lydia Bagg, with the Manchester Medics in Primary Schools, UoM Students's Union. It's focus is on reducing the spread of bacterial and viral illness, by improving childrens' hygiene practices, and educating children and parents about antibacterial resistance, particularly about coughs and colds not having any benefit from antibiotics.


The campaign is run with support from Dr Roger Harrison, Division of Population Health, Health Sciences Research and Primary Care, and Dr David Allison, Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, both in School of Health Sciences.  The three activity stations run by Beat the Bugs had the help from 12 students in FBMH, including pharmacy, medicine, science communication and neuroscience. They used resources from Public Health England's Antibiotic Guardian campaign and e-bug, and had worked with Dr Harrison and Allison to devise a number of engaging activities, games and quizzes,  to encourage discussion and raise awareness on this topic.


One of the 270 entrants to guess how many tablets in the bottle was just one out, at 374 and will soon be receiving a large blue teddy-bug. And Penny-C-Lyn also made herself present for the day.  Penny, a large cuddly bear, is used by Lydia and her team of student volunteers to run workshops on this topic with primary school visits.  And the workload will increase as another 23 primary schools were named by visitors yesterday to receive an invitation to this important scheme - contact if you're a student wanting to,support this work.

The event gave students an opportunity to step out of their own comfort zone and consider different ways to discuss this topic with a wide variety of adults and children, in a very bustling environment and using different types of resources.  It also provides opportunity to talk about this and other work with students on different degree and postgraduate programmes, and help a interdisciplinary approach. All in all,  the day was quite exhausting, but exhilarating given the publics' demand for information about antibiotic resistance.  Further information can be obtained from Dr Harrison, Dr Allison or Lydia Bagg,