Walsall patients who need intravenous antibiotics can now receive their treatment in the community in a move that avoids hospital admission and helps towards earlier discharges.
The Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) approach has been developed by the inpatient Antimicrobial Team within Walsall Manor Hospital.
Antimicrobial Lead Clinician Shabina Raza said the service, established last November, plays a vital role in good antimicrobial stewardship; ensuring antibiotics are issued appropriately.
She said: “OPAT is a significant development for the Trust that is focusing both on patient experience and helping to reduce unnecessary admissions thus freeing up much-needed beds.
“We accept referrals from the hospital and GPs within the community and the conditions we are able to treat include cellulitis, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and prosthetic joint infections. Other conditions may also be accommodated following discussions with the consultant microbiologist such as Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart’s lining) and multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis.”
Dr Christos Karagkounis, Consultant Microbiologist, added: “This approach benefits the patient because they are reviewed thoroughly and in many cases may not need intravenous antibiotics but may be treated with oral antibiotics. We have recently managed to switch 53 out of 60 patients in this way which reduces their risk of infection and also means their quality of life is better.
“Our team can also review doses and, as Shabina points out; antimicrobial stewardship is an NHS patient priority as resistance to antibiotics is a significant threat to healthcare.”
Daren Fradgley, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Director of Strategy and Improvement, said: “We know that people would much prefer to be at home, in their familiar environment, than come to hospital and OPAT also gives them the confidence that there has been expert clinical input into their care. We are proud that we can offer this service to the people of Walsall.”