In mid-2018, a Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) cluster was investigated in the North East of England, in which transmission had occurred across several hospital trusts. We undertook a survey of current CPE detection and management practices in North East and Cumbria (NEC) trusts to inform a harmonised approach that could be adopted across the region.

A semi-structured survey was carried out with one consultant microbiologist per trust by telephone interview (n=6) or electronic questionnaire (n=3) to determine CPE screening procedures, laboratory techniques and patient management practices.

Screening policies were in place in all trusts, including screening protocols for patients previously admitted outside of the UK or those known to be CPE positive, in accordance with PHE guidelines. Policies for screening patients who had been admitted to other UK hospitals varied across trusts, as did laboratory methods used. Over 80% of trusts communicated CPE status to patients and contacts by information leaflet. However, there was no uniform way of communicating CPE status to social care settings, GPs and other hospital trusts in the event of discharge or inter-hospital transfer.

The results of the survey suggest improvements could be made to the way information on patient CPE status is shared to ensure that the risk of transmission is reduced. This includes improved communication with residential settings, primary care and other hospital trusts in the event of a discharge or inter-hospital transfer. In addition, this work will inform further discussions across NEC towards developing a single regional Infection Prevention and control strategy for CPE.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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