Forte Medical Forum - Urine trouble: why a diagnostic standard is overdue

26 September 2017 Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4LE

47% of gram-negative blood infections are caused by urinary tract infection (UTI); 22.5% of urine specimens delivered nationally every year are unreliable; and 14.6 million patients cannot be diagnosed or treated from their urine specimen. If prevention is better than cure then why is the nation’s health being put at risk through high rates of contaminated urine specimens? Urine is relied upon to diagnose myriad medical conditions and the connection between the increase in AMR, UTIs, sepsis and other life-threatening medical conditions is all too clear. 

The continuing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a real threat to healthcare: antibiotic prescribing and use, both in hospitals and primary care, is the main driver. 

The report, “Preventing healthcare associated gram-negative bacterial blood infections”, was issued by Public Health England and NHS Improvement in May this year.  It cites untreated UTIs as responsible for 47% of gram-negative blood infections of e-coli, which can lead to sepsis – and death.

Treating UTI relies on accurate specimen collection, as outlined by Public Health England’s UK Standards for Microbiology Investigation of Urine 2017, but today, contamination rates for urine specimens are running as high as 70%, with the national average being 22.5%.

This means that of the 65 million urine specimens collected every year, more than 14 million samples will lead to failed diagnosis and treatment for patients; or over the five hours of this year’s forum, more than 28,000 urine specimens will be provided by patients, with more than 6,000 being contaminated.     

In association with the ABHI and the Urology Foundation, this forum will explore the importance of accurate urine specimen across the health spectrum with presentations from leading experts from the fields of urology, microbiology and obstetrics. It will outline the economic benefits that adoption of a gold standard collection procedure would bring to laboratory services, infection control, cancelled surgery and procedures and essential NHS resources.

The full programme and list of speakers will be published shortly, but includes:

  • Professor Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Barts and The London NHS Trust
  • Professor Trevor Williams, Economist and Professor at University of Derby
  • Rachel Cashman, MD of The Soircas Consultancy Ltd and former Head of Clinical and Scientific Policy and Strategy, NHS England 
  • Suzanne Williams, Chief Executive, BladderHealth UK
  • Louise de Winter, Chief Executive, The Urology Foundation
  • Alison Taylor, CUTIC.

Findings from recent UK and US clinical studies on alternative collection devices will also be presented.

This event is relevant to primary healthcare providers, NHS trusts and CCGs, public healthcare bodies, private healthcare providers, health and medical charities and patient associations.

To register your interest and/or book your place, free of charge, please contact