Is Australia ready to implement delayed prescribing in primary care? A review of the evidence

Lucy Sargent*, Amanda McCullough, Chris Del Mar, John Lowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)



Antibiotic resistance is a major global public health threat. Most antibiotic prescriptions for human consumption in primary care are for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). Australia continues to be a high prescriber of antibiotics, compared with other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Implementation of evidence-based strategies to reduce antibiotic use in primary care is needed. Delayed prescribing is one evidencebased strategy that is underused.


This article describes delayed prescribing, the evidence for its effectiveness, how it works, how it could be implemented in Australia and what individual general practitioners (GPs) can do.


Delayed prescribing, also called 'wait-and-see prescribing', is the process whereby a GP makes an antibiotic prescription available during the consultation, but asks the patient to delay its use to see if symptoms will resolve first. Evidence indicates that delayed prescribing is an effective strategy for reducing antibiotic use but requires implementation. Individual GPs can begin to use this strategy as a method of treating patients with ARTIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-690
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


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