The UK Government Specialist Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (ARHAI) was established in 2007. It has responsibility for providing practical and scientific advice to government on healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) and to maintain the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents in the treatment and prevention of infection in man and animals. The manner in which this has been approached by ARHAI is described. In essence, key themes have been defined and issues dealt with through 'Focus Sessions', Subgroups and Working Groups. This Supplement reports on a selection of the key issues that have been addressed and the resulting recommendations and actions. Topics featured include: educational initiatives that target healthcare professionals and the public; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile infections; surveillance priorities; healthcare management and HCAI and antimicrobial resistance (AMR); AMR in pathogens involving man and animals; technological innovation to support the control of AMR and HCAI; antimicrobial stewardship; and issues dealing with antiviral drug resistance.