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General practitioners' attitudes towards the management of dental conditions and use of antibiotics in these consultations: a qualitative study

General practitioners' attitudes towards the management of dental conditions and use of antibiotics in these consultations: a qualitative study
General practitioners' attitudes towards the management of dental conditions and use of antibiotics in these consultations: a qualitative study
Objectives This study aimed to produce an account of the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) towards the management of dental conditions in general practice, and sought to explore how GPs use antibiotics in the treatment of dental problems. Design Qualitative study employing semistructured telephone interviews and thematic analysis. Participants 17 purposively sampled GPs working in Wales, of which 9 were male. The median number of years since graduation was 21. Maximum variation sampling techniques were used to ensure participants represented different Rural?Urban localities, worked in communities with varying levels of deprivation, and had differing lengths of practising career. Results Most GPs reported regularly managing dental problems, with more socioeconomically deprived patients being particularly prone to consult. Participants recognised that dental problems are not optimally managed in general practice, but had sympathy with patients experiencing dental pain who reported difficulty obtaining an emergency dental consultation. Many GPs considered antibiotics an acceptable first-line treatment for acute dental problems and reported that patients often attended expecting to receive antibiotics. GPs who reported that their usual practice was to prescribe antibiotics were more likely to prioritise patients? immediate needs, whereas clinicians who reported rarely prescribing often did so to encourage patients to consult a dental professional. Conclusions The presentation of patients with dental problems presents challenges to GPs who report concerns about their ability to manage such conditions. Despite this, many reported frequently prescribing antibiotics for patients with dental conditions. This may contribute to both patient morbidity and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. This research has identified the need for quantitative data on general practice consultations for dental problems and qualitative research exploring patient perspectives on reasons for consulting. The findings of these studies will inform the design of an intervention to support patients in accessing appropriate care when experiencing dental problems.
2044-6055
1-8
Cope, Anwen
a81ac79a-434d-4a43-bfb1-f2baf5d8c9ca
Wood, Fiona Claire
7fa2fcc6-81ab-4acf-997e-4c7113c7b1fd
Francis, Nicholas Andrew
9b610883-605c-4fee-871d-defaa86ccf8e
Chestnutt, Ivor Gordon
9e5aa7b4-0d23-443d-bb53-08dd5703ba37
Cope, Anwen
a81ac79a-434d-4a43-bfb1-f2baf5d8c9ca
Wood, Fiona Claire
7fa2fcc6-81ab-4acf-997e-4c7113c7b1fd
Francis, Nicholas Andrew
9b610883-605c-4fee-871d-defaa86ccf8e
Chestnutt, Ivor Gordon
9e5aa7b4-0d23-443d-bb53-08dd5703ba37

Cope, Anwen, Wood, Fiona Claire, Francis, Nicholas Andrew and Chestnutt, Ivor Gordon (2015) General practitioners' attitudes towards the management of dental conditions and use of antibiotics in these consultations: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 5 (10), 1-8. (doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008551).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives This study aimed to produce an account of the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) towards the management of dental conditions in general practice, and sought to explore how GPs use antibiotics in the treatment of dental problems. Design Qualitative study employing semistructured telephone interviews and thematic analysis. Participants 17 purposively sampled GPs working in Wales, of which 9 were male. The median number of years since graduation was 21. Maximum variation sampling techniques were used to ensure participants represented different Rural?Urban localities, worked in communities with varying levels of deprivation, and had differing lengths of practising career. Results Most GPs reported regularly managing dental problems, with more socioeconomically deprived patients being particularly prone to consult. Participants recognised that dental problems are not optimally managed in general practice, but had sympathy with patients experiencing dental pain who reported difficulty obtaining an emergency dental consultation. Many GPs considered antibiotics an acceptable first-line treatment for acute dental problems and reported that patients often attended expecting to receive antibiotics. GPs who reported that their usual practice was to prescribe antibiotics were more likely to prioritise patients? immediate needs, whereas clinicians who reported rarely prescribing often did so to encourage patients to consult a dental professional. Conclusions The presentation of patients with dental problems presents challenges to GPs who report concerns about their ability to manage such conditions. Despite this, many reported frequently prescribing antibiotics for patients with dental conditions. This may contribute to both patient morbidity and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. This research has identified the need for quantitative data on general practice consultations for dental problems and qualitative research exploring patient perspectives on reasons for consulting. The findings of these studies will inform the design of an intervention to support patients in accessing appropriate care when experiencing dental problems.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 August 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 October 2015
Published date: 1 October 2015
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435845
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435845
ISSN: 2044-6055
PURE UUID: d9a16772-6647-4f57-be71-a32cbe626817
ORCID for Nicholas Andrew Francis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8939-7312

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Date deposited: 21 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 03:40

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Contributors

Author: Anwen Cope
Author: Fiona Claire Wood
Author: Ivor Gordon Chestnutt

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