Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Public engagement

 

Clinical Microbiology wordcloud

 

public engagement

 

Members of the Clinical Microbiology Department:

Participate enthusiastically in a variety of public engagement and media events to highlight the importance of healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) prevention.

Contribute significantly to healthcare policy, national guidelines and national clinical programmes through membership of a range of national and international committees.

Provide leadership on the national pneumococcal reference laboratory through a collaboration with the Children’s University Hospital and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC)

Provide postgraduate education to a range of healthcare professionals on HCAI and AMR. The continued popularity of the Foundation Course on HCAI jointly organised by the RCSI and the the HPSC highlights the need for more national initiatives in education relating to this aspect of healthcare.

Public engagement and media

Healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are important patient safety issues and topics of interest and concern for patients, their carers and members of the public. Department members have participated in a variety of public engagement and media events, highlighting the role of clinical microbiologists, the current burden of HCAI/AMR on the healthcare system and on society and how patients/public can help prevent their spread.

Examples of public engagement

 

Professor Hilary Humphreys

  • Chairperson, National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC), Department of Health, October 2015. The NCEC Standards for Clinical Practice Guidance were launched in November 2015. The standards were developed by the NCEC, informed by a systematic literature review, advice from an Expert Advisory Group and feedback from a public consultation process. 
  • Prof. Humphreys and Dr. Niall Stevens participate in the RCSI MiniMed School where  transition year students (16-17 year olds) are introduced to Clinical Microbiology, antibiotic resistance and what it means to have a healthy microbiome. The students participate in both lectures and laboratory practicals.

Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick

 
 

Dr Deirdre Fitzgerald Hughes

  • Primary School Educational Workshop ‘What’s on your hands’.  This is a two day fun workshop in which 2nd class children (7-8 year old) use laboratory methods to grow bugs from their hands and observe them under the microscope.  The children learn the importance of good bugs to health and the importance of hand hygiene in infection prevention. 
 

Healthcare policy

Prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HCAI) is a key patient safety issue HCAI.

  • Harm patients and in some cases, result in severe illness and death
  • Costs our healthcare system money and have a far reaching effect on society – patients that acquire HCAI required additional time off work, resulting in loss of earnings in addition to potentially avoidable reduced well being, reduced quality of life and increased suffering.
  • Are not an inevitable consequence of healthcare. It has been estimated that up to 70% of vascular-catheter related bloodstream infections (BSI) and 55% of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). and surgical site infection may be reasonably prevented.

If HCAI are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the mortality rate can be more than doubled. Antibiotic resistance has a long-term effect on the health of future generations. The concern is the risk of returning to the pre-antibiotic era; there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of new antimicrobials being developed in the past 20 years and coupled with rising rates of antibiotic resistance we may reach the point when ‘straightforward’ infections (e.g., cellulitis, urinary tract infection) may be untreatable.

The Department continued to contribute to healthcare policy and international/national clinical guideline development in the area of HCAI and AMR through membership of national and international committees including the following:

International policy contributions

Professor Hilary Humphreys

  • Member, European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) Treasurer of the European Study Group on Nosocomial Infections, 2017 - present. 
  • Member, HIS Working Group on Surveillance and Neurosurgical Infections, 2012 - present. 
  • Member, HIS Scientific Development Committee, 2010-2015.
Dr Eoghan O’Neill
  • European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) National Microbiology Focal Point 2010–present.
Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick
  • Member, European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) Study Group for Clostridium difficile (ESGCD), 2009-present.
  • Member, ESGCD Committee for Revision of European Guidelines for prevention of Clostridium difficile Infection, 2015-present.

National policy contributions

Professor Hilary Humphreys

  • Chair, Department of Health, National Clinical Effectiveness Committee, 2010-2016.
  • Dean, Faculty of Pathology, The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), 2015-present.
  • RCPI Council & Credentials Committee, 2008-present.
  • Chair, RCPI Credentials Committee, 2015-present.
  • Prof. Hilary Humphreys, Chair, Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Member: National MRSA guidelines, December 2013.
Dr Eoghan O’Neill
  • Chair, National Antibiotic Stewardship Committee, 2014- present.
  • Member, Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) External Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Stewardship 2015–present.
Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick

National Pneumococcal Reference Laboratory

Through a collaboration with the Children’s University Hospital and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), the Department provided leadership on the national pneumococcal reference laboratory.

Foundation Course on HCAI

The continued popularity of the Foundation Course on healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) jointly organised by the RCSI and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) highlights the need for more national initiatives in education relating to this aspect of healthcare.