Recent migrants’ perspectives on antibiotic use and prescribing in primary care: a qualitative study

Antje Lindenmeyer, Sabi Redwood, Laura Griffiths, Shazia Ahmed, Jenny Phillimore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
278 Downloads (Pure)


Currently there is great interest in antibiotic prescribing practices in the UK, but little is known about the experiences of the increasing numbers of migrants registered at GP practices. Qualitative research has suggested that reasons for not prescribing antibiotics may not be clearly communicated to migrants.

This study aims at exploring the factors that shape migrants’ experiences of and attitudes to antibiotics, and suggesting ways to improve effective communication around their use.

Design and setting
A qualitative study on recent migrants’ (those present in the UK for longer than 1 year but less than 5 years) health beliefs, values, and experiences in a community setting in primary care.

Twenty-three recent migrants were interviewed in their preferred language by trained community researchers. The research team conducted a thematic analysis, focusing on health beliefs, engaging with health services, transnational medicine, and concepts of fairness. Experiences around antibiotics were a strong emerging theme.

Three reasons were identified for antibiotics seeking: first, holding an ‘infectious model’ of illness implying that antibiotics are required quickly to avoid illness becoming worse or spreading to others; second, reasoning that other medications will be less effective for people ‘used to’ antibiotics’; and third, perceiving antibiotic prescription as a sign of being taken seriously. Some participants obtained antibiotics from their country of origin or migrant networks in the UK; others changed their mind and accepted alternatives.

Primary care professionals should aim to understand migrants’ perspectives to improve communication with patients. Further research is needed to identify different strategies needed to respond to the varying unde
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e802-e809
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number652
Early online date31 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


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