3 years ago

Future priorities of acute hospitals for surgical site infection surveillance in England

G. Godbole, C. Wloch, P. Harrington, N.q. Verlander, S. Hopkins, A.p. Johnson, T. Lamagni

Publication date: December 2018

Source: Journal of Hospital Infection, Volume 100, Issue 4

Author(s): G. Godbole, C. Wloch, P. Harrington, N.Q. Verlander, S. Hopkins, A.P. Johnson, T. Lamagni


Since the launch of the national Surgical Site Infection (SSI) Surveillance Service in 1997, successive expansions of the programme provided hospitals with increasing flexibility in procedures to target through surveillance. Ensuring that the programme continues to meet hospitals' needs remains essential.


As a means to inform the future direction of the service, a survey of all acute National Health Service trusts was undertaken to assess and understand priorities for surveillance.


A web-based survey was circulated to acute NHS trust infection control teams in England, asking them to identify and rank (i) reasons for undertaking current SSI surveillance, (ii) priority surgical categories for future SSI surveillance, and (iii) reasons for prioritizing these categories.


Of the 161 trusts surveyed, 84 (52%) responded. Assessment of quality of care was identified as the most common driver for SSI surveillance activity. Considerable heterogeneity in priority areas was observed, with 24 different surgical categories selected as top priority. Of the procedures undertaken by 15 or more trusts, caesarean section (2.7), hip replacement (2.8) and coronary artery bypass graft (2.9) were highest ranked. All 17 categories in the current surveillance programme were selected as a top priority by one or more trusts.


Whereas the majority of hospitals' priorities for SSI surveillance are included in the current programme, the top-ranked priority, caesarean section, is not included. Given the diversity of priority areas, maintaining a comprehensive spectrum of categories in the national programme is essential to assist hospitals in addressing local priorities.

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