There are 35,000 non-medical prescribers in the UK, predominantly made up of nurses and pharmacists. But there is very little evidence available about antibiotic prescribing in this group.
To explore, researchers gave questionnaires to 120 patients who consulted a non-medical prescriber for a respiratory tract infection. A total of 22 patients and 16 nurse and pharmacists also completed a follow-up telephone interview.
The team found that the majority of patients were satisfied with their experience and reported that patient expectations aligned with those perceived by the non-medical prescribers.
Overall, 43% expected an antibiotic, but these patients were no more likely to receive one than patients who did not expect one. They were, however, less likely to express satisfaction with their treatment (59% versus 96% overall).
Reporting in the BMJ Open
(online, 15 March 2017), the researchers say the results highlight that non-medical prescribers are therefore an important group to be involved in antibiotic stewardship.
 Courtenay M, Rowbotham S, Lim R et al. Antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections: a mixed-methods study of patient experiences of nonmedical prescriber management. BMJ Open 2017;7:e013515. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013515