Microbes fear NHS Hero and anti-germ general Tranprit Saluja

3rd May 2019

If you think about it, healthcare is a battle. Helping the body fight against illness or injury from external or internal factors, and the modern NHS has to worry about more microscopic foes than ever before. Thankfully in this battle Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust they have just that.

Living just down the road from Edgbaston stadium, 44-year-old Tranprit Saluja has more than a couple of strings to her bow. Since 2017 she’s been Infection Prevention Control Doctor (IPCD) for the Trust. However, she’s also deputy chair of the regional infection control forum, an honorary senior lecturer at Aston University having begun as a consultant microbiologist five years earlier.

Her path to this role began after developing an interest in how bacteria can impact and be fought by the body. Now Tranprit splits her working time with a mix of clinical duties, on-call commitments and doing rounds and if it were ever required she’d be at the forefront of any action to confront outbreaks.

Despite a schedule she describes as ‘hectic’, Tranprit is very proud of the work she does and its impact to date.

She says: “Our infection control management figures are exemplary, with the problems we face significantly reduced across the board – especially the likes of bacteria like C.difficile and E.coli. While you can’t account for every external factor, that we’ve improved so much is very satisfying for me and my team. As infection control lead, I have committed to a zero tolerance goal for all avoidable health care associated infection (HCAI) in the Trust.”

One development that Tranprit has been heavily involved in is Outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT), which has enabled patients to be discharged from hospital and be managed in the community for completion of their intravenous (IV) treatments. Being able to receive these is beneficial to both patients and hospitals, freeing up hospital beds while improving the quality of life for patients and the results of been extremely positive.

Tranprit says: “Patient feedback is overwhelmingly positive with 98% expressing a high level of satisfaction due to the flexibility of the service, great care, support and expertise of the staff. Beyond this though my aim is to continue to deliver the best care to patients by effective antimicrobial stewardship.”

Being so busy, Tranprit works hard to a proper work-life balance – especially with her husband also being in the health service as a clinical oncologist. When she’s not being an ‘unofficial taxi service’ to her 11-year-old son, and Tranprit does get some time for herself she enjoys relaxing with some classical music and doing some cooking, baking or gardening. Although, if you did give her the chance she’d leap at the opportunity to take a nice holiday in sunny Australia.

Whether it’s her work with OPAT, looking after water safety at the Trust or even developing tests for screening of blood borne viruses, Tranprit relishes any opportunity for her and her team to push patient care forward.

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