Lord Carter visited the Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) service run collaboratively by Lancashire Care and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals on Tuesday.
The service was introduced in 2012 to treat patients in need of intravenous antibiotic therapy, which is given through the vein when the condition cannot be treated with oral antibiotics.
In the past, patients requiring intravenous antibiotics had to stay in hospital to receive the treatment for days and sometimes weeks. This put pressure on acute beds and was inconvenient for patients, who, other than the requirement for antibiotics, were well enough to go home.
The new service makes it possible for patients to be discharged home, and be treated with intravenous antibiotics which are given once per day as an outpatient in either Chorley District hospital or in Royal Preston hospital. This year, Lancashire Care in partnership with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals extended the service to treat at home patients who are frail and unable to attend hospital daily.
Kathryn Woods, Lead Nurse within the Community Wellbeing Network at Lancashire Care, said:
“The OPAT service is a fantastic piece of work that really makes a huge difference to patients who are provided with sterling healthcare in the home without the need to remain in hospital. Patients are cared for within their own homes with our District nurses visiting them individually. In this way, pressure is removed from acute beds with patients receiving care in a timely and coordinated way.”
Dr Alison Muir, Consultant in Infection at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and OPAT lead, said:
“This service is really successful and we are extremely proud to welcome Lord Carter here today to show him how we work. Patients continue with their normal lives and can stay at home, but still receive the very best treatment.”
Lord Carter’s visit to Lancashire was part of a wider visit that involved meeting local NHS acute trusts on their work to create a joint procurement service. Earlier this year, it was announced that Lancashire Care is one of 23 healthcare organisations that will take part in the second phase of Lord Carter’s NHS efficiency review of mental health and community trusts. The review has been running since 2015 with a previous focus on acute settings.