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Update from 2019 Highly commended – Das Pillay Antibiotic Stewardship Award – Nicola Walker, Pharmacy Technician, Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Thanks to the financial donation associated with the award I was able to attend two antimicrobial conferences in 2019, the UKCPA masterclass in Birmingham and the BSAC OPAT conference in London.

The masterclass offered me an opportunity to develop my general antimicrobial knowledge, the speakers were very interesting and there was a wide range of topics discussed.  The BSAC conference was particularly beneficial as my role has developed in the last year to be mostly OPAT focused.  It was fantastic to hear how OPAT is delivered in all areas of the country and the wide variety of models developed to treat patients at home, in the community or in a day case setting.  I have been able to return to work full of ideas for the future!

I have been fortunate to secure a permanent role co-ordinating OPAT between the hospital and the community nursing teams. In the last six to twelve months we have improved our OPAT service greatly. Discharge times have been reduced and the process of discharge on the ward has been streamlined.  We have introduced a weekly virtual ward round, run by myself, antimicrobial pharmacists and the community nursing teams.  The overall management of patients has improved, blood results are reviewed, follow up appointments are arranged, patient progress is discussed and concerns are highlighted to the patients’ clinical team.

We are currently carrying out a pilot study using 24 hour antibiotic elastomeric pumps to treat OPAT patients at home.  Patients prescribed piperacillin/tazobactam, flucloxacillin and benzylpencillin were historically not able to be discharged to the community due to the frequency of nursing visits required but these have been reduced to once a day with the pumps.  Working with the community nursing team and Antimicrobial Stewardship Team we will continue to grow and develop our OPAT service, increase the numbers of patients that can be treated at home and ensure that they are on the best treatment for their infection.

Following the award ceremony we have been able to raise the profile of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Team in our trust and the utilisation of specialist pharmacy technicians in new roles.  My role is both interesting and challenging and I love being part of a large multi-disciplinary team helping patients and protecting the use of antibiotics.