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Alternative approaches to managing respiratory tract infections: a survey of public perceptions

Moore, Alex, Cannings-John, Rebecca, Butler, Christopher C., McNulty, Cliodna A. M. and Francis, Nick A. 2021. Alternative approaches to managing respiratory tract infections: a survey of public perceptions. British Journal of General Practice Open 5 (2) , 0124. 10.3399/BJGPO.2020.0124

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Background Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a common reason for people to consult in primary care, and contribute to antibiotic overuse and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Alternative approaches to supporting patients with RTIs may help, but it is important to understand public perceptions about these approaches before they are widely implemented. Aim To describe public perceptions regarding finger-prick testing, back-up antibiotic prescriptions (BUPs), and alternatives to traditional consultations for RTIs, and identify factors associated with favouring these approaches. Design & setting Online national survey (HealthWise Wales) with linked primary care health record data. Method Survey item response distributions were described. Associations between responses about consultation alternatives, BUP, and finger-prick point-of-care testing (POCT), and potential explanatory variables, were explored using logistic regression. Results A total of 8752 participants completed the survey between 2016 and 2018. The survey found 76.7% (n = 3807/4,966) and 71.2% (n = 3529/4,953) of responders with valid responses were in favour of being able to consult with a pharmacist or nurse in their GP surgery, or with a community pharmacist, respectively. It also showed 92.8% (n = 8034/8659) of responders indicated they would be happy to have a finger-prick test to guide antibiotic prescribing, and 31.8% (n = 2746/8646) indicated they would like to be given a BUP if their clinician thought immediate antibiotics were not required. In addition, 47.4% (n = 2342/4944) and 42.3% (n = 2095/4949) were in favour of having video and email consultations, respectively. Characteristics associated with different response options were identified. Conclusion Consulting with pharmacists, using electronic communication tools, and finger-prick testing are widely acceptable approaches. BUP was described as acceptable less often, and is likely to require greater information and support when used.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Additional Information: This article is Open Access: CC BY license (
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 2398-3795
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 24 September 2020
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2022 10:51

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