AN OLDHAM GP has warned that despite being “slow-burning” antibiotic resistance (AMR) is “equally deadly” to Covid.

Dr Anita Sharma, a GP at the South Chadderton Health Centre, and the founder of the Endometriosis Awareness North charity, gave the warning ahead of her appearance at a Westminster Health Policy Conference next month.

At the conference on December 1, Dr Sharma will be joined by keynote speakers, including professor dame Sally Davies, the UK Special Envoy on antimicrobial resistance, and the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on antibiotics Kevin Hollinrake MP.

The conference is set to examine the UK’s priorities for tackling antimicrobial resistance which has been dubbed ‘the silent pandemic’ by MPs.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Dr Sharma said: “Antibiotic resistance is a slow-burning but equally deadly condition to Covid, and I think the world will again be looking to Britain to find a solution.

“Let us follow the science and reach a solution fast, as we have all now seen to our cost, what a pandemic really looks like.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that around 10 million people will die from antibiotic resistant infections by 2050.

WHO says AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites gradually change and stop responding to antimicrobial medicines including antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals. This makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of diseases spreading, causing severe illness and even death.

In her daily role as a family doctor, Dr Sharma claims she sees exactly where the problem stems from.

She said: “Antibiotic resistance is caused by bacteria in our bodies building up resistance to the drugs. The more you take, the greater the chance of problems and yet patients still see antibiotics as a cure-all for everything and demand the drugs from doctors. This has even seen them physically assault GPs who do not hand them over.

“Then there is the reticence of health authorities to pay for equipment which reveals whether you need antibiotics or not. These tests cost £4 a time. Such diagnostics should be in every surgery in the UK, to save lives and reduce the cost of emergency treatment for patients with antibiotic resistant infections.”