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Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT)

What we do

OPAT is a method of giving antibiotics and other similar medicines through a vein (intravenously). It is used to treat infections in patients who are well enough to be discharged from hospital and can safely receive treatment in their own home.

Patients on OPAT have been recommended by their doctor that they need antibiotics through the vein to treat their infection. This may be because the antibiotic does not exist as a tablet or because the patient needs a high dose of the antibiotic. Patients are able to go home to receive their antibiotics rather than staying in the hospital.

In most cases a nurse will go to the patient’s house each day and give them the IV antibiotic. Some patients (or their carers) are keen to learn how to give the IV antibiotic themselves and the OPAT team can arrange training for this.

The patient will need to be seen by the OPAT team once a week for an outpatient appointment.

Preparing for your appointment

Check your appointment letter to see if you need to do anything to prepare for your appointment.

If a nurse attends your home to give you your IV antibiotics, you may get a blood sample taken a day or two prior to your appointment so the results are available in clinic.

You will be seen by a clinician. They will ask about your symptoms and your medical history and review your test results (if applicable). They will also talk through with you what will happen next. You may also be required to have a further blood test, depending on the antibiotic that you are receiving, to ensure you are receiving the most effective dose for your condition.


Ground floor, Caldecot Centre, 15-22 Caldecot Road, London, SE5 9RS

Contact Details

Patient information leaflets

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Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) Service148 KB

Conditions we treat

We take internal referrals from other services at the Trust. We will review the patient and their suitability to be initiated on OPAT. In the future, and when the service further develops, we will be looking at expanding who can refer into the service.

The OPAT service will initially focus on treating patients who have:

  • vertebral osteomyelitis, discitis, or epidural abscess
  • osteomyelitis
  • prosthetic joint infections
  • wound infections
  • complicated urinary tract infections
  • complicated skin and soft tissue infections
  • brain abscess
  • a surgical abscess
  • infective indocarditis
  • diabetic foot infection
  • bronchiectasis
  • other infections, at the discretion of the Infectious Diseases team.

Referral criteria
We take referrals for patients who are currently in hospital for IV antibiotics and no other reason and do not meet any of the below exclusion criteria.

Exclusion criteria

  • Aged less that 16 years old
  • Medically unstable
  • Mentally unstable with a risk of self-harm
  • Confused or lacks capacity (this is only a relative contraindication if there is a carer with the patient at all times)
  • Does not consent to IV treatment or to allowing a nurse to access their home
  • Does not agree to attend weekly outpatient clinic
  • Are unwilling to return to hospital should there be problems with the vascular access device
  • Deemed unfit to care for the vascular access device
  • Alcohol or drug (recreational or prescribed) dependency in the past 5 years (relative contraindication)
  • Home setting is unsafe for visiting nurses
  • Lacks lighting, running water or electricity in the home
  • Does not have access to a telephone in an emergency

Please discuss with the OPAT team directly if you believe your patient would be suitable for OPAT.

What is required before referring a patient

Discuss the patient with the OPAT team or Infectious Diseases Consultant before submitting a referral form. It is important to note that a referral is not accepted until a clinician confirms this after the patient has been reviewed with the OPAT team.

Referrals are reviewed by the Infectious Diseases consultants, OPAT nurse and pharmacist.

Booking a patient at King’s

Routine Referrals

Make referrals via EPR. The referral form is called OPAT (Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy).

Please make sure you leave a full telephone number within the EPR referral so the OPAT nurse can contact you easily to discuss.

Our opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Please note that EPR referrals made after 3pm will be responded on the next working day and are therefore not classified as an accepted referral.

Other Queries

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