Background: ULHG first detected CPE in 2009. A decision was made at the outset to flag CPE contacts on the surveillance software system (ICNet) rather than write to discharged contacts. CPE was declared a national public health emergency, October 2017. In September 2018, the Irish CPE Expert Group mandated that all hospitals write to CPE contacts, as per open disclosure policy, to inform them of their status. Screening was also offered. An eligible contact was defined as one who did not have 4 negative screens since exposure.

Methods: An ICNet search was conducted to detect all CPE contacts, cross-checking with the national death registry before delineating the number of CPE screens tested via the Laboratory Information System. Processes were put in place to address queries from patients; a generic helpline and a recorded telephone line for clinical concerns or complaints. Screening packs were developed. National template letters were posted to patients, their GPs and consultants.

Results: 2016 CPE contacts were identified from Feb 2009 to Sept 2018. 422 patients contacted the generic helpline; 347 requested call-back from the CPE nursing expert. 115 requested testing packs with 103 delisted as contacts. Patients voiced many concerns including anger for the untimely notification, upset at the potential risk of CPE acquisition and criticism regarding the letter content.

Conclusions: The decision to inform patients is appropriate but it must be timely with access to understandable information and support from a suitably trained professional. The communication programme continues prospectively in the setting of CPE endemicity.

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

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