Infectious disease management in primary care: perceptions of GPs
OBJECTIVE To explore the views of patients and doctors on respiratory tract symptoms. DESIGN Transversal survey among patients and general practitioners. SETTING Primary health care and community. SUBJECTS 51 patients attending a general practitioner, 38 patients in the community, 7 general practitioners. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Patients' and doctors' views on respiratory tract symptoms and differences between them: agreement with statements rated on a 5-point scale, ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." RESULTS Patients less than doctors endorsed the self-limiting character of cough, sore throat and earache (mean 3.1, 3.4 and 2.9 versus 4.1, 4.1 and 3.7) and patients--much more than doctors--rated antibiotics as being necessary for cough and sore throat (mean 2.7 and 2.9 versus 1.7 and 17) and believed that antibiotics speed recovery (mean 3.7 versus 2.0). However, there was little difference relating to the necessity to see a doctor after some time period. CONCLUSION Patients appeared to differ from doctors in views on respiratory tract symptoms. The results stress the importance of exploring patients' views when being confronted by patients suffering from respiratory tract symptoms.