Episode 124: The association between burnout and the increasing prescribing of opioids and antibiotics in practice – what can we do differently?

In this episode, we talk to Dr Alex Hodkinson, who is an NIHR senior research fellow within the NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre at the University of Manchester.

Title of paper: Association of strong opioids and antibiotics prescribing with GP burnout: a retrospective cross-sectional study’. 

Available at:

Prescribing has important implications for patient safety; this is particularly the case for high-risk medications such as strong opioids, and medications where there may be public health implications such as antibiotics. Physician wellness such as burnout can also have a significant impact on the productivity of healthcare organisations, intentions to leave medical practice, and both the quality and safety of patient care. At present, it is unclear if there is an association between the wellness of GPs within general practices and overprescribing of strong opioids and antibiotics in primary care in England. Over a 4-month period this study found higher prescribing of strong opioids and antibiotics among GPs with burnout symptoms, job dissatisfaction, and turnover intentions; working longer hours; and in practices based in the north of England serving more deprived populations.

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