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Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Jun;61(3):342-7. Epub 2005 Apr 21.

Views on respiratory tract symptoms and antibiotics of Dutch general practitioners, practice staff and patients.

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Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center (UMC), Str. 6.131, P.O. Box 85060, 3508 AB Utrecht, the Netherlands.



To explore views on respiratory tract symptoms (cough, sore throat and earache) and antibiotics of GPs, practice staff, and patients.


In a nationwide study, 181 GPs, 204 practice staff members and 1250 patients from 90 practices participated by answering 14 items relating to views on respiratory tract symptoms and antibiotics in a written questionnaire. Differences in means were compared.


Patients more than GPs endorsed the seriousness of respiratory tract symptoms, the need to consult a GP, the need to prescribe antibiotics, and the ability of antibiotics to speed up recovery. GPs were more than patients convinced of the self-limiting character of respiratory tract symptoms and of the fact that antibiotics have side effects. Practice staff took a middle ground in most of these views.


Differences between GPs, practice staff and patients must be taken into account when exploring patients' complaints and advising on treatment. Education and knowledge programmes for practice staff might be advocated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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