Pilot sites chosen to survey surgical site infections

22 Feb 2013 | Infection Prevention & Control

Eight district health boards (DHBs) throughout New Zealand will soon pilot an exciting new patient safety programme that aims to reduce surgical site infections.

The surgical site infection (SSI) programme is overseen by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and delivered by joint lead agencies – Auckland and Canterbury DHBs. The programme seeks to reduce infections following surgery through the development of sustainable quality improvement activities and a nationally consistent, evidence-based approach to the surveillance of SSIs.

Dr Sally Roberts, chair of the SSI surveillance programme steering committee and clinical lead for the infection prevention and control programme at the Commission, says that a significant proportion of SSIs are preventable. They remain, however, the second most common healthcare associated infection and occur in two to five percent of patients undergoing surgical procedures.

“Surgical site infections can cause emotional and financial stress, serious illness, longer hospital stays, long-term disabilities, and may even result in loss of life. The consequences for both health services, and most importantly the patient, mean that the prevention of surgical site infections is extremely important,” says Dr Roberts.

“By developing a national standardised approach to surveillance and feedback, health care professionals will have access to verifiable information that will allow them to drive quality improvements in clinical practice, contributing to national and international efforts to improve patient safety,” she adds.

Year one of the programme will focus on hip and knee surgeries. A development (pilot) phase will commence in March 2013 and national roll-out is anticipated in July 2013.

DHBs participating in the pilot phase are:

  • Auckland
  • Canterbury
  • Waitemata
  • Nelson Marlborough
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Capital and Coast
  • Hutt Valley
  • Bay of Plenty.

“The pilot phase provides DHBs with an opportunity to trial, and have input into, a range of guidance materials for SSI. These materials include standard practices that should be considered for each patient to reduce SSIs, known as bundles of care,” says Dr Roberts.

The SSI programme is one of three components of the Commission’s infection prevention and control programme, which aims to improve patient safety by reducing the harm caused by healthcare associated infections.

For more information about the SSI programme visit: http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/infection-prevention-and-control/projects/surgical-site-infection-surveillance/.


Last updated 28/02/2013