The threat posed by antibiotic resistance should be ranked alongside terrorism on a list of threats to the nation, the Government's Chief Medical Officer said.
The problem is a "ticking time-bomb" and should be put on the Government's National Risk Register - which also includes "catastrophic terrorist attacks" and other civil emergencies, Professor Dame Sally Davies said.
Routine operations such as hip replacements could become deadly in just 20 years time if we lose the ability to fight infection, she said.
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The number of antibiotics being prescribed by GPs in England has fallen by 2.6 million.