There is little in the literature about out-of-hours calls to medical microbiologists. The calls taken by a consultant medical microbiologist over a five year period in an Irish tertiary referral hospital were reviewed. Excluding calls at weekend mornings and significant evening positive blood cultures, the mean annual number of calls on a one-in-four rota was 89 (70-111. Over 90% of calls were received before mid-night and 51% were from specialist registrars. Medical specialties, neurosurgery and intensive care were the most common departments seeking advice. Two-thirds of calls related to the management of an individual patient but advice on infection prevention and control is increasingly requested. Calls out-of-hours are not insignificant but we know little about how these vary between hospitals and what contribution thay make to patient care.
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