The challenge to combat clinical
problems of healthcare acquired infection and worldwide pandemics of HIV,
hepatitis and malaria, to respond to
emerging infection problems such as swine flu and Ebola, and to rationalise
antibiotic use in the light of increasing microbial resistance, makes the
Infection Specialties of Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, and Virology
exciting and contemporary specialties.
The Traditional Background of ID, Microbiology and Virology
Traditionally, infectious diseases was quite distinct from the
laboratory based specialties: ID physicians had clinical responsibility for
patients with mostly communicable diseases; microbiologists/virologists
organised and supervised laboratory diagnostic services for infection, led on
infection control services, and gave advice to other clinicians about
management of various infections, often by telephone, with limited ward reviews.
This separation of duties is becoming blurred over time. ID physicians
deal with fewer communicable diseases, whilst with technological advances, laboratory
supervision is slowing moving over to clinical scientists. The work of ID
physicians and microbiologists and virologists has more overlap, particularly
in areas of healthcare acquired infection, and antimicrobial resistance.
Combined Infection Training
As a result of this change, and looking
to the future, August 2015 saw the combined Royal Colleges introduce “combined
infection training”(CIT) curriculum which all trainees in these infection
specialties undertake in their first 2 years of specialty training. This will
be extended by 6 months for ID-GIM trainees, to accommodate GIM training during
this time. CMT & MRCP are essential for entry into CIT. CIT is followed by higher
specialty training (HST) in later years. All programmes are 5 years overall,
except for Tropical Medicine-GIM which is 6 years.