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Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT)

Lindsay Semple, OPAT Lead Nurse, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Lindsay's case study was completed in 2012 and reflects 2012 prices

Antibiotic therapy is used in all hospitals across the UK. At any one time it is estimated that about 30% of inpatients are receiving antibiotics and that half of these will be given intravenously (IV). Many patients require prolonged IV therapy and this dictates their length of stay in hospital. Many of these patients could be safely cared for in the community if the infrastructure to manage them was in place.

The primary driver of an Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) service is to improve quality. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT) pilot project redesigned the patient journey to offer a clinical and cost effective service for patients who hitherto were admitted to or kept in hospital for the administration of parenteral antibiotics. The service is patient focused and supports the policy driver to move care out of hospitals and into the community.

An economic assessment conducted by Lindsay Semple, OPAT Lead Nurse at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde found that between April 2011 and March 2012 the OPAT service avoided over 4,700 occupied bed days, lowered readmission rates and reduced patients' risk of developing a hospital acquired infection such as MRSA. Depending o the costs of an inpatient bed, Lindsay calculated that the costs avoided by the Health Board ranged from £1,773,324 - £3,408,405. Taking into account the costs of the OPAT service, Lindsay identified that the OPAT service saved at least £1,667,693.

Lindsay concluded that by increasing investment in the OPAT service by an additional £250,000, the service could be expanded to 7 days a week. This would allow a further 400 patients to be received into the service, avoiding NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde £2,138,000. For every additional £1 invested in the service, GG&C HB could potentially save £8.55

You can contact Lindsay by email:

Case study
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