Helping more people to be treated closer to home

Innovative scheme saves 45,000 hospital admission bed days.

A new service which has already saved 45,000 hospital bed days this year is being further rolled out over the coming months.

The Out-patient Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) service allows people to be treated at home or in out-patient settings - reducing the need for hospital admission or long stays.

Patients are able to receive intravenous antimicrobial therapy or other complex antibiotic treatment in an out-patient clinic at a time convenient to them, and in some areas even at home rather than as an inpatient.

The service, part of the right care in the right place initiative, is just one of many innovative programmes which health boards are using to help reduce pressures on the rest of the system.

Figures published by the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group show that between 17 January 2022 and 21 August 2022 on average 250 people per week have been treated by the OPAT service and more than 45,000 hospital admission bed days have been avoided in that period. OPAT services are supported by £50 million of Scottish Government funding through the Urgent and Unscheduled Care Collaborative  

Mr Yousaf said:

“I am pleased to see the roll-out of the Out-patient Antimicrobial Therapy service. 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, said:

“Hospitals are under significant pressure as we try to recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic and there is a real need for initiatives to support recovery and promote different ways of caring for our patients traditionally managed in hospitals.

“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”.

Nine health boards currently use OPAT services and the programme will be rolled out further over the coming months.


OPAT services in Scotland


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