Delayed Prescribing

This website is envisaged as a tool to assist GPs practice a technique for reducing antibiotic prescribing in Australian general practice. It acts:

  • as a How-To resource, a (brief web-based video);
  • with Qs and As section; and
  • is supplemented with evidence from the research literature on how it has been tested in trials.

It has been commissioned by the Centre for Research Excellence in Minimising Antibiotic Resistance for Acute respiratory Infections (CREMARA), at Bond University, funded by NHMRC

Delayed Prescribing Video


Thanks to Lucy Sergeant for early work on developing a VideoScript version as part of her doctoral thesis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. The Cochrane review of all randomised trials of Delayed Prescribing showed it was safe.

But remember: if you think antibiotics are indicated, prescribe them (don’t use Delayed Prescribing)

No. Perhaps surprisingly, overall Delayed Prescribing leads to roughly a 50% reduction in use of antibiotics.

The Cochrane review suggest thee is a small drop in patient satisfaction with Delayed Prescribing compared with immediate prescribing – but less than not prescribing at all!

That case was very complicated, involved a seriously ill child in a hospital setting, and there were many aggravating issues, (including poor hand-over of care, and missed clinical features). Delayed Prescribing probably contributed very little to this.


Delayed antibiotics reduces antibiotic use

Educational: patients learn that they can manage their own self-limiting illness without antibiotics

Patient satisfaction is nearly as good as giving antibiotics even inappropriately (and better than confronting patients with a refusal!)

The delayed antibiotics provide a safety-net


Patients might store their prescription for future (even less appropriate!) use.

Patients might be confused by the apparent opposing words (“you don’t need antibiotics”) and action (“here is a prescription”)