Infectious Diseases (ID) was, until recently, regarded as a “Cinderella speciality”. Now, as the clinical (and political) landscape has evolved, the need for specialists in infection is increasing. The political imperative is being driven by the increased media attention and public awareness about various health care-associated infections by the “superbugs” like MRSA and C.difficile”. The clinical demand for ID has been driven by the emergence of a variety of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms in increasingly complex or compromised hosts, the emergence of new pathogens (e.g. HIV, SARS, avian H5N1 influenza), and the re-emergence of older foes, such as Tuberculosis.
Training in ID is both interesting and rewarding, an offers opportunities for a varied career ranging from challenging varied clinical management to intellectually stimulating frontier research into diseases of worldwide importance. The specialty has encompassed the requirements of a clearly objective based training curriculum.
The essential (generic) training tracks in the curriculum are designed to train to competency in:
- Community acquired infection and its management
- Geographical medicine
- The management of immunocompromised patients including HIV/AIDS
- Antimicrobial therapy
- The management of Hospital acquired infection including Infection in the Intensive / High dependency setting
- The understanding of the role of Microbiology in the management of infection
- Research methodology and its application to clinical practice
- A variety of optional subjects such as virology, clinical pharmacology, public health, epidemiology vaccinology and overseas practice
There is a wealth of excellent training opportunities in infection in Bristol, although Bristol is not a recognised centre for training in Tropical Medicine.
There are 2 different ways of obtaining a CCT in ID. The first is a 6-year training programme (ST3-ST8) that offers a joint CCT in Infectious Diseases with Medical Microbiology & Virology. The training is divided between the Microbiology Departments at University Hospitals Bristol (UHBristol) and the North Bristol Trust (Southmead and Frenchay Hospitals) and the Infectious Diseases ward at Southmead Hospital. It is expected that joint ID/ microbiology trainees will complete the examination requirements of the Royal College of Pathologists in Medical Microbiology and Virology.
The second is a 5-year training programme (ST3-ST7) offering a joint CCT in Infectious Diseases with General Internal Medicine (GIM) (level 2 competencies). The training is divided between the North Bristol Trust and UHBristol.