Scheme to reduce hospital admissions extended across Scotland

  • Date: 21 September 2022

A SCHEME designed to reduce hospital admissions by delivering antibiotic treatments in people’s homes or outpatient clinics is to be rolled out across Scotland.

The outpatient antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) service claims to have already saved 45,000 hospital bed stays in Scotland so far this year.

It allows certain patients with serious infections to receive intravenous antibiotic treatments outside of a hospital setting, at a time that suits them.

The scheme, supported by £50 million of Scottish Government funding, treated an average of 250 people per week between January and August 2022, avoiding an estimated 45,000 hospital admission bed days.

Nine health boards currently use OPAT services and the government said it will be rolled out further “over the coming months.”

The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf said: “We know that our accident and emergency departments continue to be under significant pressure, and that is why we are working at pace to deliver this scheme, and others like it, to provide more care in the community while reducing pressure on hospitals.

“We know there is a real benefit to treating people at home where possible. We are determined to build on this success and want to see this approach adopted across as many health boards as possible.”

Dr Andrew Seaton, chair of the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group and Consultant in Infectious Diseases, added: “OPAT is an excellent example of how nurses, pharmacists and doctors can work together to provide high quality patient centred care without the need for a hospital bed. The focus now on further developing virtual capacity and new ways of working with support across Scotland for initiatives like ours is very welcome”.

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