An Aberystwyth University academic’s project to tackle antimicrobial resistance has been highlighted as an example of best practice by the UK Government.

Led by Dr Gwen Rees from Aberystwyth University, the Veterinary Prescribing Champions Network works to help vets prescribe antibiotics responsibly and increase their effectiveness.

It is part of the wider Arwain DGC project, led by Menter a Busnes and with project partners WLBP, Iechyd Da and the University of Bristol, which helps vets, farmers and horse owners address the spread of antimicrobial resistance in animals and the environment by reducing the need to use antibiotics.

Funded by the Welsh Government, the programme works in partnership with key Welsh agricultural organisations, veterinary delivery partners, and academic institutions to highlight the issue.

Through training, applying new technology, data gathering, and improving understanding, the programme encourages and demonstrates ways to reduce the need to use antibiotics and the risk of antimicrobial resistance developing.

In the UK Government's new policy paper on tackling antimicrobial resistance, Dr Gwen Rees’ project is referred to as an example of how to promote antimicrobial stewardship in the veterinary profession as a means of optimising their use.

The paper states that: “By combining the practical experience of clinical farm vets with literature reviews conducted by academics at Aberystwyth University, these clinical guidelines were launched in 2023 and are set out in a range of resources which farmers and vets can complete together for display to all farm staff.”

Dr Rees said: “It is heartening to see our project receive this recognition of its important work from UK Government.

“Several of the programme’s work streams have already given us new insights into antimicrobial resistance development and spread, and the Veterinary Prescribing Champions Network has developed an innovative community of highly trained vets who can make a real difference to how antibiotics are used here in Wales.

“I’m so proud to have been able to work with a great team of collaborators.”

Last year, the project won The Antibiotic Guardian Awards which are given to organisations and individuals who have “demonstrated achievements in tackling antimicrobial resistance at a local, regional, or national level”.