BACKGROUND: Sore throat is a frequent presentation of acute respiratory tract infections in general practice. Though these infections are often harmless and self-limiting, antibiotics are frequently prescribed. In Denmark, practice nurses manage an increasing part of patients with acute minor illnesses.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed (i) to investigate Danish practice nurses' and GPs' management of patients presenting with a sore throat and (ii) to explore to what extent management is according to current Danish guidelines.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted during winter 2017, involving GPs and practice nurses in Danish general practices. Patients with a sore throat were registered according to the Audit Project Odense method.
RESULTS: A total of 44 practices participated with the registration of 1503 patients presenting with a sore throat. Most patients had a strep A test performed, especially when managed by a practice nurse (84.6% versus 61.8%, χ2 = 90.1, P < 0.05). In total, 40.6% of performed strep A tests were not according to guideline recommendations. Antibiotics were prescribed for about one-third of patients, regardless whether managed by a practice nurse or a GP (χ2 = 0.33, P = 0.57). However, 32.4% of these prescriptions were not in line with Danish guidelines.
CONCLUSION: Patients with acute sore throat were managed similarly by GPs and practice nurses, apart from a higher use of strep A tests in patients seen by practice nurses. Importantly, this study demonstrated that there is still room for improvement of the management of these patients in Danish general practice.