MORE hospital admissions linked to antimicrobial resistance were recorded at the trust which runs The Royal Oldham Hospital last year, figures reveal.

NHS Digital data shows there were around 435 admission episodes with a diagnosis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in 2019-20.

That was up from 375 recorded during the previous year, although it was still slightly fewer than 440 in 2014-15 – the earliest year with available data.

Researchers warn drug-resistant infections could pose a greater public health risk than Covid-19 unless urgent action is taken to tackle their rise.

AMR happens when germs build up resistance to treatments – such as bacteria to antibiotics – meaning the medicines can no longer fight infections they were developed to treat.

It has led to the emergence of so-called superbugs such as MRSA, which are resistant to various types of antibiotic. It can also hinder cancer treatments as patients become more vulnerable to infection.

A recent World Health Organisation report warned the world was failing to develop “desperately needed” antibacterial treatments, despite the growing awareness of the urgent threat posed by AMR.

Across England, around 93,700 admission episodes were recorded in 2019-20 – up from 90,200 a year earlier and 64,300 in 2014-15.

Professor Colin Garner, chief executive of Antibiotic Research UK, a charity working to tackle the threat of drug-resistant infections, said the Government needs to commit more funding and resources to fighting AMR.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated what happens when the world is ill-prepared for the spread of infectious disease.

“Whilst Covid is a virus that is treatable through vaccination, there are no vaccines to treat the most common resistant infections,” he added.

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which campaigns to tackle AMR, is meanwhile calling on the Government to appoint a cabinet minister with responsibility for coordinating efforts to fight AMR.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “As the global Covid-19 pandemic has made clear, major outbreaks of disease and other public health emergencies are one of the most significant threats to any society, and this experience underscores our commitment to tackling antimicrobial resistance.

“The Government has a bold vision for containing and controlling AMR by 2040, which is supported by a five-year action plan and the investment of more than £360 million in research and development in this area.”