How is income generated by outpatient parenteral antibiotic treatment (OPAT) in the UK? Analysis of payment tariffs for cellulitis

On behalf of the BSAC OPAT Standing Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: We determined the available mechanisms to generate income from outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) in the UK and calculated the revenue generated from treatment of an episode of cellulitis. Methods: Revenue was calculated for patients receiving treatment for cellulitis as an inpatient and for patients receiving OPAT by a series of different payment pathways. Selected established OPAT services in Northern Ireland, Scotland andWales, where Payment-by-Results (PbR) does not operate, were contacted to determine individual national funding arrangements. Results: In England, a traditional inpatient episode for uncomplicated cellulitis requiring 7 days of treatment generated £1361 of revenue, while OPAT generated revenue ranging from £773 to £2084 for the same length of treatment depending on the payment pathway used. Treatment using OPAT to avoid admission entirely generated £2084, inpatient admission followed by transfer to a virtual OPAT ward at day 2 generated £1361 and inpatient admission followed by discharge from hospital to OPAT at day 2 generated £773. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales block contracts were used and no income was calculable for an individual episode of cellulitis. Conclusions: No single funding mechanism supports OPATacross the UK. In England, revenue generated by OPAT providers from treatment of cellulitis varied with the OPAT payment pathway used, but equalled or exceeded the income generated from equivalent inpatient care. Cost savings for OPAT and reuse of released inpatient beds will increase revenue further. A single OPAT tariff is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236-1240
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2014


  • Finance
  • Home intravenous antibiotics
  • OPAT


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