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Posted 5 Nov 2013 in Healthcare Associated Infections

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board (DHB) is helping drive forward progress made by a national campaign to reduce harm caused by surgical infections.

Preventing surgical site infections (SSIs) – which develop when bacteria enter a surgical incision – is the second phase of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s national patient safety campaign, Open for better care.

Tauranga Hospital’s Medical Director John Kyngdon said SSIs were an area in continuous focus.

"We are constantly streamlining our processes to ensure our DHB strives to maintain the lowest SSI rates possible," he said. "That includes the best use of antibiotics, hand hygiene, sterile procedures, and evidence-based use of catheters, lines and drains."

Commission and DHB staff at the Tauranga Hospital booth.

To promote the campaign an informational booth, manned by Tauranga Hospital and Commission staff, was stationed at the hospital’s main entrance today (Tuesday, November 5th) between 10am and 2pm.

The Bay of Plenty DHB has been instrumental in the campaign’s development, being one of eight DHBs selected to participate in a national pilot programme run earlier this year. It is also the initiative’s regional lead (of the Midland region’s five DHBs) and its staff have helped shape the national agenda.

Dr Kate Grimwade is a past member of the National Quality Improvement Programme (NQIP) steering committee and Dr Lorraine Wilson is a member of the current national steering committee.

"Open for better care has allowed us to bring a focus to the great patient safety work already underway in our DHB, and provides us with an opportunity to build on that work," said Dr Wilson.

"We are fully committed to improving outcomes for patients and communities across the region."

The DHB registered an impressive result in the campaign’s first phase; to implement the Surgical Site Infection Surveillance (SSIS) system for hip and knee arthroplasty.

The report showed 96 percent of Bay of Plenty DHB patients received their prophylactic antibiotic ‘on time’ – which meant it was given between 0 and 60 minutes prior to surgery.

"The SSIS report for hip and knee arthroplasties showed our DHB has an outstanding record in meeting the objectives for the use of prophylaxis in surgery," said Bay of Plenty DHB Chief Executive Officer Phil Cammish. "It is an excellent performance and one which can help provide impetus moving forward."

The initiative highlights how simple actions taken by hospital health care workers can make a real difference to patient safety. These include good hand hygiene, giving patients the right antibiotic at the right time, and using appropriate skin preparations before surgery.

A pledge supporting the campaign was signed by Mr Cammish and the DHB’s board chair Sally Webb.

A second booth will be held at Whakatane Hospital on Tuesday November 19. It will provide information and interactive activities for staff, visitors and patients, including a quiz on SSIs.