The findings show that a 25 per cent lower rate of antibiotic prescribing by a general practitioner corresponded to a 5-6 point reduction on General Practice (GP) satisfaction rankings.
The study by researchers at the King's College London analysed records from 7,800 general practices.
After taking into account demographic and practice factors, antibiotic prescribing was a significant determinant of patient experience.
For example, for a practice that prescribed 25 per cent fewer antibiotics than the national average, there was a corresponding reduction in the national GP satisfaction rankings from the 50th centile to the 44th to 45th centile.
"Many patients come in asking for antibiotics when they have viral infections such as colds, coughs, sore throats, or the flu, but antibiotics cannot treat viruses," said Mark Ashworth from the King's Division of Health and Social Care Research in London, who led the study.
"GPs often feel pressured by patients to prescribe antibiotics and find it difficult to refuse a patient who asks for them," said Ashworth.
"These findings suggest that practices that try to help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria by prescribing fewer antibiotics are likely to experience a drop in their satisfaction ratings. GPs who are frugal in their antibiotic prescribing may need support to maintain patient satisfaction," he added.
The inappropriate use and prescribing of antibiotics is contributing to the development of resistant bacteria, researchers said.
The study was published in the British Journal of General Practice.
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