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

Alex Moore, Rebecca Cannings-John, Christopher C. Butler, Cliodna Am McNulty, Nick A. Francis*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalBJGP Open
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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    Copyright © 2021, The Authors


    • antimicrobial resistance
    • bacterial
    • drug resistance
    • primary health care
    • respiratory tract infections


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