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A survey of time management and particular tasks undertaken by consultant microbiologists in the UK
  1. Terry Riordan1,
  2. Keith Cartwright2,
  3. Richard Cunningham3,
  4. Margaret Logan4,
  5. Paul Wright5
  1. 1Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Church Lane, Heavitree, Exeter, UK
  2. 2Brobury House, Brobury, Herefordshire, UK
  3. 3Department of Microbiology, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK
  4. 4Gloucester Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester, UK
  5. 5Department of Medical Microbiology, Conquest Hospital, The Ridge, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr T Riordan
 Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Church Lane, Heavitree, Exeter EX2 5AD, UK; terry.riordan{at}


Background: Medical microbiology practice encompasses a diverse range of activities. Consultant medical microbiologists (CMMs) attribute widely differing priorities to, and spend differing proportions of time on various components of the job.

Aim: To obtain a professional consensus on what are high-priority and low-priority activities, and to identify the time spent on low-priority activities.

Method: National survey.

Results: Many respondents felt that time spent on report authorisation and telephoning of results was excessive, whereas time spent on ward-based work was inadequate. Timesaving could also be achieved through better prioritisation of infection-control activities.

Conclusion: CMMs should apportion their time at work focusing on high-priority activities identified through professional consensus.

  • CMM, consultant medical microbiologist
  • DGH, district general hospital
  • DICP, Director of Infection Control and Prevention
  • GP, general practitioner
  • ICD, infection control doctor
  • ICU, intensive care unit
  • wte, whole time equivalent

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  • Published Online First 19 May 2006

  • Competing interests: None declared.