Table 3

Responses by general practitioners on their certainty about decision whether or not to prescribe antibiotics and whether non-clinical “factors” influenced their decision to prescribe. Values are numbers (percentages of patients) for whom data are available

DetailPatient prescribed antibiotic (581/787; 74%)Patient not prescribed antibiotic (206/787; 26%)
Certainty about decision to prescribe an antibiotic (n=787):
Antibiotic definitely indicated116 (20)2 (1)
Antibiotic probably indicated339 (58)0
Antibiotic probably not indicated120 (21)99 (48)
Antibiotic definitely not indicated6 (1)105 (51)
Non-clinical “factors” influenced decision to prescribe antibiotic (n=776)249 (44)6 (3)
Specified factors included* (% of this group):
Patient's expectation or “pressure”133 (53)2
Social factors for the patient66 (27)0
“My experience is patient will otherwise return”53 (21)1
Other factors45 (18)4
Work pressure on the doctor18 (7)0
  • *More than one factor present in some cases.