Training pack for GPs in the prevention and control of food-related disease outbreaks

Date: January, 2005

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Background

The safefood study "Acute Gastroenteritis in Ireland, North and South - A Study of General Practitioners" found that infectious intestinal disease is a common problem in the primary care setting accounting for almost one in every twenty consultations.

A key conclusion of that survey was that there was a need to support, equip and encourage General Practitioners (GPs) to develop their role in the prevention and control of food-related disease cases and outbreaks. This project developed a training resource for GPs on the clinical management of gastroenteritis. This provides practical tools and approaches for GPs on the topic of infectious food borne illness with concise information about diagnosis, treatment and disease notification.

The key aims were:

  1. To improve treatment practices of GPs especially in relation to antibiotic and anti-diarrhoeal use;
  2. To provide guidance to GPs on exposure history in gastroenteritis and food poisoning;
  3. To develop GP awareness of their role in prevention of disease – hygiene, safe food practices, hand washing, advice on sickness leave;
  4. To support the development of patient information leaflets;
  5. To provide guidance on criteria for stool sampling;
  6. To improve GPs understanding of the notification system.

The resources have been used by the Irish College of General Practitioners and Queen’s University Belfast and subsequently by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre in Dublin. They have informed policy and practice together with providing a basis for patient information materials.