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More surgical site infections being prevented

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has today welcomed new data showing DHBs are making good progress with taking steps to prevent surgical site infections (SSIs).

“SSIs are uncommon but can cause emotional and financial stress, serious illness, longer hospital stays, long-term disabilities and even death,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“In April, the Health Quality & Safety Commission introduced a new marker on SSIs to its Quality and Safety Markers. The markers measure the extent to which DHBs have adopted interventions proven to reduce harm to patients from falls, surgical errors, infections linked to hand hygiene, the insertion of central lines in intensive care units, and now SSIs.

“The latest results from the markers, which cover the quarter from January to March 2014, show that DHBs are already improving their performance in giving the right dose of antibiotics at the right time to prevent SSIs.

“It is also pleasing to see a very high level of compliance with safety procedures for inserting central line catheters to prevent bloodstream infections. We estimate that we have prevented more than 180 of these potentially serious infections in just under two years, saving over $3.5 million to be spent on other areas of health care.”

DHBs have improved their hand hygiene compliance rates, while their overall performance remained largely unchanged since the previous quarter on risk assessment and care planning for older people at risk of falls and on use of the World Health Organization’s surgical safety checklist.

“It is pleasing to see improvements being made, particularly on the new SSI marker,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“It’s important that all DHBs continue to strive to match the results of their highest-performing peers in taking these important measures to keep patients safe.”

Further information on the Quality and Safety Markers can be found on the Commission’s website, www.hqsc.govt.nz

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129

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