Accessing Advice from a Consultant Microbiologist

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Accessing microbiology clinical advice Mon-Fri 09.00 – 17.00

The following resources are available to help with questions regarding antimicrobial prescribing:

  • Microbiology reports are available electronically immediately after authorisation on Results Direct, in TRAK, and on Clinical Portal. Check results before any antimicrobial prescription to guide antimicrobial choice. Unauthorised results will not be given over the phone. Positive blood cultures will always be phoned to the relevant clinical area by the lab.
  • If no culture results are available, this app hosts the NHS Ayrshire & Arran Empirical Antimicrobial Policy. It also includes advice on syndromic microbiological sampling, and contains advice on IV-to-oral switch therapy if no positive cultures are available.
  • The Antimicrobial Guidelines and Information page on Athena contains antimicrobial prescribing guidance which falls outwith the empirical policy.

If your question has not been answered using the resources above, it should be escalated through usual routes of clinical supervision up to and including the responsible consultant.

If the question cannot be answered within the clinical team, the following routes are available to access advice from the duty microbiologist:

1) A clinical e-mail inbox for routine referrals (Mon-Fri 09.00 – 17:00) from Primary Care and in-patient wards, e.g.:
  • Complex infections
  • Rationalisation of antimicrobials
  • Result interpretation

All email referrals must include:

  • information on recent/current antimicrobial therapy including durations
  • relevant co-morbidities
  • drug allergies including the nature of the reaction
  • The responsible clinical consultant must be copied into the e-mail message.

Referrals with inadequate information will be returned for completion. If required, a generic referral form is available.

A reply to an email referral will usually be available within 2 hours if received before 3pm. Any referrals received after this time may not be answered until the next working day.

2) Consultants or General Practitioners can seek advice from the duty microbiologist for urgent referrals, e.g.:
  • Acutely unwell patient with suspected sepsis
  • Referrals from the Emergency Department, Critical Care, theatres
  • Referrals from GPs on house visit

Monday-Friday 09.00-17.00 Page 3213 directly or through switchboard

Where this task is delegated, the caller must be familiar with all aspect of the case including plans for treatment escalation and intervention.


Accessing urgent clinical and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) advice out of hours

  • An on-call consultant microbiologist is available Mon-Fri 17.00 -09.00 and Sat-Sun 09.00-09.00 through switchboard.
  • Only calls from a consultant (for clinical and/or IPC advice) or Bed Manager (for IPC advice) are accepted.