COMPLETED: Studying pathways of effective self-management for delayed prescribing and reducing antibiotic use.

Theme 5

Engagement with Self Directed Support

The problem:
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health risk to the UK. Over prescribing, and misuse, of antibiotics has contributed towards this increasing resistance.
60% of all antibiotics prescribed by GPs are for respiratory tract infections (RTIs) but antibiotics have limited effect on RTIs. UK health policy is to try to reduce the number of prescriptions issued by GPs, especially for (RTIs). GPs provide a prescription for Antibiotics but encourage patients to self-care and only if symptoms persist to use the prescription.
It is currently unclear what patient’s think of this option and how they will make the decision ‘cash in’ the prescription or not.

The solution:
This project is part of a wider study with the Primary Care Theme (Theme 4) which is looking at aspects of delayed prescribing of antibiotics. In our theme we will undertake qualitative interviews with patients and use GENIE to explore how people’s social networks influence decisions on taking antibiotics.

Project A: ‘Patient Enactment of Delayed Prescribing of Antibiotics’. In this study we have undertaken qualitative interviews with people in receipt of a delayed prescription to understand patients’ attitudes and behaviours towards antibiotic use and the strategy of delayed prescribing. We used utilised GENIE to explore how people’s social networks influence their decisions on antibiotic taking.

Project B: ‘Antimicrobial resistance and Antibiotic Use: An exploration of interaction, experience, advice and awareness in parent-to-parent online social networks’. This study will understand what health information parents seek regarding antibiotic use, and the social network influence on parent’s decisions to administer antibiotics to their children.

Expected outcome:
Preliminary analysis has highlighted the role of the internet in relation to advice and influence over antibiotic use. This is especially so for parents of young children who have been prescribed antibiotics. Combining the finding of these studies will indent the social network influence on antibiotic use, and highlight where public health information should be targeted.

We are hoping to inform a larger study by:
• providing background data and analysis
• evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the recruitment strategies
• investigate the prevalence of delayed prescribing in practices in the Wessex region

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