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Southern Trust home antibiotic team shortlisted for National Award

The Southern Trust Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy Service team when they first set up two years ago: (back l-r Peter McKee, Lead OPAT Pharmacist, Sara Hedderwick, Consultant Microbiologist, Lisa Lennon Antimicrobial Pharmacist, Martin Brown, Consultant Microbiologist; Front L-R, Cara McKeating, Consultant Microbiologist, Geraldine Conlon-Bingham, Lead Antimicrobial Pharmacist, Jessie McNally, Antimicrobial Pharmacist, Pauline Curran IV Nursing Coordinator, Susan Mayne, IV nursing coordinator).

A Southern Trust team which is helping patients to have antibiotic treatments at home rather than hospital, has been shortlisted for Patient Safety in the UK-wide HSJ Awards.

The Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy Service (OPAT) is a team of microbiologists, pharmacists and nurses who look after patients being discharged with ongoing antibiotics – for example with abscesses, bone or other infections.

Since they set up two years ago, an estimated 6,000 days which people may have otherwise spent in Southern Trust hospitals were avoided thanks to the service.

The team works closely with district nursing, helping to prevent hospital admissions, supporting earlier discharge and enhancing overall experience for suitable patients.

Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy Service Pharmacist, Orla McGivern who is based at Daisy Hill Hospital

Congratulating the team on being shortlisted for this prestigious award, Tracey Boyce Director of Pharmacy Services for the Southern Trust said: “We are absolutely delighted that the OPATs team has received such well deserved recognition for their innovative approach and commitment to patient safety.

“Now in many cases they are avoiding intravenous treatments by finding a suitable alternative oral antibiotic, which frees up busy district nursing colleagues and is much less invasive, lower risk and more convenient for the patient.

“The enhanced role of the pharmacist in the team is helping to make the most of our Consultant Microbiologists’ time, by reviewing patients and clinical planning in advance.

“With reduced repeat dispensing and increased use of oral alternatives, we also have much better medicines management.

“Most importantly the service is really improving patient outcomes – with patients now needing an average of five days less on antibiotic therapy, readmission rates reduced by over 50% and the risk of healthcare acquired infections minimised by the shorter time on antibiotics.”

Watch a short video about this service:

Now in its 40th year, the HSJ Awards is the largest annual benchmarking and recognition programme for healthcare.

For more information go to

Winners will be selected ahead of the ceremony, which will take place virtually in March 2021

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