An underutilised resource for Antimicrobial Stewardship: a ‘snapshot’ of the community pharmacists’ role in delayed or ‘wait and see’ antibiotic prescribing

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Various strategies have been implemented in primary care to address the inappropriate use of antibiotics, with varying degrees of success. One such intervention is delayed or ‘wait and see’ prescribing, where the prescriber indicates to wait a few days before dispensing the antibiotic. The aim of this study was to explore community pharmacists’ perceptions and practice experiences with delayed antibiotic prescribing.


An online survey was advertised in two professional pharmacy organisations’ e-newsletters for community and internship pharmacists in Queensland, Australia, from January to April 2016.

Key findings:

We received 120 responses. 103 (86%) worked in a community pharmacy. Sixty per cent of the respondents would not dispense the delayed antibiotic prescription if a patient presented to the pharmacy within 24 h of seeing a doctor. Instead, they would advise the patient to wait and fill the prescription if they are not improving.


The concept of delayed or a ‘wait and see’ antibiotic prescription was well received by the participating community pharmacists. These healthcare professionals are well placed to be effective stewards of antibiotics and can play an important role in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to optimise the quality use of antibiotics in primary care.

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