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New anti-staphylococcal bundle aims to reduce surgical site infections in New Zealand hospitals

Infection prevention and control
09 February 2021

The Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) is working with a second cohort of hospitals to implement a pre-operative anti-staphylococcal bundle to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) in New Zealand hospitals. 

Hospitals include the following:

District health boards (DHBs)
  • Auckland DHB (Auckland)
  • Bay of Plenty DHB (Tauranga)
  • Northland DHB (Whangarei)
  • Waikato DHB (Hamilton)
  • West Coast DHB (Greymouth)
Private surgical hospitals:
  • Braemar Hospital (Hamilton)
  • Grace Hospital (Tauranga)
  • Kensington Hospital (Whangarei)
  • Mercy Hospital Dunedin (Dunedin)
  • Ormiston Hospital (Auckland)

A collaborative has been formed and involves five DHBs and five private surgical hospitals, with support from the Commission, identifying the best way of implementing components of the bundle through testing, adapting and adopting a standardised process.

The bundle, which is primarily for orthopaedic and cardiac procedures, will reduce patient harm and costs. It includes pre-operative interventions to reduce SSIs caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

The Commission is using the experience from the first cohort to provide valuable material for this second bundle project. Some DHBs participated in the first cohort to implement a bundle for cardiac surgery and are now participating in the second cohort focusing on a bundle for orthopaedic surgery.

Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of surgical site infections both in New Zealand and globally. It accounts for about 30 percent of orthopaedic SSIs identified in patients in New Zealand hospitals.

Dr Arthur Morris says the team working on the bundle is multidisciplinary and includes service areas affected by the bundle including nurses, surgeons, pharmacists and patient safety staff.

‘In order to make the collaborative a success, it was recommended that DHBs have clinical leadership, consumer engagement, quality improvement advice, data analysis, project support and governance mechanisms to support implementation of the work.

‘The benefit of the collaborative methodology is that it involves multidisciplinary hospital teams networking and sharing learnings while working toward a common aim – the implementation of an anti-staphylococcal bundle with local customisation.'

Three one-day learning sessions and monthly webinars will support the bundle’s development and implementation.