Objectives: To explore views on respiratory tract symptoms (cough, sore throat and earache) and antibiotics of GPs, practice staff, and patients. Methods: In a nationwide study, 181 GPs, 204 practice staff members and 1250 patients from 90 practices participated by answering 14 items relating to views on respiratory tract symptoms and antibiotics in a written questionnaire. Differences in means were compared. Results: Patients more than GPs endorsed the seriousness of respiratory tract symptoms, the need to consult a GP, the need to prescribe antibiotics, and the ability of antibiotics to speed up recovery. GPs were more than patients convinced of the self-limiting character of respiratory tract symptoms and of the fact that antibiotics have side effects. Practice staff took a middle ground in most of these views. Conclusions: Differences between GPs, practice staff and patients must be taken into account when exploring patients' complaints and advising on treatment. Education and knowledge programmes for practice staff might be advocated.