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Doctors feel pressured to prescribe antibiotics to satisfy patients

Do you reach out to antibiotics at the first sign of a cold? You are contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

By: IANS | London |
December 8, 2015 1:54:42 pm
Taking medicine Practices that try to help prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by prescribing fewer antibiotics are likely to experience a drop in patients’ satisfaction ratings. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Reduced prescribing of antibiotics by doctors is associated with lower patient satisfaction, a Britain-based survey has found.

A 25 per cent lower rate of antibiotic prescribing by a general practitioner corresponds to a five-six point reduction on GP (general practice) satisfaction rankings, the findings showed.

The study analysed records from 7,800 general practices, mostly in England.

“Many patients come in asking for antibiotics when they have viral infections such as colds, coughs, sore throats, or the ‘flu, but antibiotics cannot treat viruses. GPs often feel pressured by patients to prescribe antibiotics and find it difficult to refuse a patient who asks for them,” said lead author of the study Mark Ashworth from King’s College, London. The inappropriate use and prescribing of antibiotics is contributing to the development of resistant bacteria.

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“These findings suggest that practices that try to help prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by prescribing fewer antibiotics are likely to experience a drop in their satisfaction ratings,” Ashworth noted.

The findings of this study are consistent with previous small-scale studies that found patients who did not receive antibiotics were much more likely to express dissatisfaction, the researchers said.

The study was published in the British Journal of General Practice.

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