Background. Scottish antimicrobial prescribing in the community has fallen since 2012, but this could have unintended consequences. The aim was to examine associations between changes in antibiotic prescribing in primary care and hospital admissions and patient satisfaction.

Methods. Data for 877 Scottish general practices with 5.1 million patients were provided by NHS National Services Scotland. Practices were classified into four equal groups (quartiles) in terms of change in total antibiotic prescribing (rate/1000 registered patients in each quarter) 2012-2018. Changes in hospital admission with infection were examined comparing the four groups. Multivariate regression examined associations between change in antibiotic prescribing and patient satisfaction with the practice using national survey data.

Results. Across Scotland, primary care antibiotic prescribing decreased by 15% from 194.1 (95%CI 193.8-194.4) in Q1 2012 to 165.3 (95%CI 165.0-165.6 ) in Q2 2012, with considerable variation between practices (non-significant increase of 0.22 prescriptions/1000/quarter [p=0.49] for the quartile of practices with least reduction in antibiotic prescribing, vs reduction of -2.95 prescriptions/1000/quarter [p<0.001] for quartile with the largest reduction). Rates of hospital admissions with infection increased over the time period but there were no significant association with changes in antibiotic prescribing. Patient satisfaction decreased over the period, but change in antibiotic prescribing was not associated with patient satisfaction.

Conclusion. There have been clinically significant reductions in Scottish primary care antibiotic use since 2012, varying considerably between practices. Longitudinal analysis of Scotland-wide practice level data found no associations between practice-level reductions in primary care antibiotic prescribing and hospital admissions or patient satisfaction.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error