Antibiotic prescribing and patient satisfaction in primary care in England: cross-sectional analysis of national patient survey data and prescribing data

Ashworth, Mark; White, Patrick; Jongsma, Hannah; Schofield, Peter; Armstrong, David
January 2016
British Journal of General Practice;Jan2016, Vol. 66 Issue 642, pe40
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: Concerns about adverse effects on patient satisfaction may be an important obstacle to attempts to curtail antibiotic prescribing.Aim: To determine the relationship between antibiotic prescribing in general practice and reported patient satisfaction.Design and Setting: Retrospective cross-sectional study of general practices in England.Method: Data were obtained from the General Practice Patient Survey (GPPS) in 2012 (2.7 million questionnaires in England; 982 999 responses; response rate 36%); the national Quality and Outcomes Framework dataset for England, 2011-2012 (8164 general practices); and general practice and demographic characteristics. Standardised measures of antibiotic prescribing volumes were obtained for each practice in England during 2012-2013, together with 12 other nationally available prescribing variables. The role of antibiotic prescribing volume was identified as a determinant of GPPS scores and adjusted for demographic and practice factors using multiple linear regression.Results: The final dataset consisted of 7800 (95.5%) practices. A total of 33.7 million antibiotic prescriptions were issued to a registered population of 53.8 million patients. Antibiotic prescribing volume was a significant positive predictor of all 'doctor satisfaction' and 'practice satisfaction' scores in the GPPS, and was the strongest predictor of overall satisfaction out of 13 prescribing variables. A theoretical 25% reduction in antibiotic prescribing volume would be associated with 0.5-1.0% lower patient satisfaction scores, a drop of 3-6 centile points in national satisfaction ranking.Conclusion: Patients were less satisfied in practices with frugal antibiotic prescribing. A cautious approach to antibiotic prescribing may require a trade-off in terms of patient satisfaction.


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