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Hospital infection surveillance system flawed, say experts
Date:1/14/2013

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF DE MONTFORD UNIVERSITY, LEICESTER, UK -- Patients recovering from surgery get infections far more often than is being reported, a new study led by De Montfort University has found.

Infection prevention specialists are now calling on the Department of Health to bring in a clear and standardised system for hospitals to try to identify the true scale of surgical infections.

They say a study of the way in which NHS hospital trusts in England has shown "worrying inconsistencies" between hospitals in how they defined surgical site infections and how rigorously they looked for them. As a result, published infection rates for hospitals do not always give a true picture.

The reasons hospitals gave for not submitting data was that the surveillance system was flawed and unwieldy and they didn't trust the system

Their paper, published today in the Journal of Hospital Infection, casts further doubt on the reliability of the national surgical site infection surveillance scheme in England.

Lead researcher Professor Judith Tanner of De Montfort University said "The national SSI surveillance system in England consistently under-reports the true scale of surgical infection and gives a false sense of security. This study shows there are so many inconsistencies that it's not possible to benchmark hospitals against the English national surgical site infection data".

Specialists at De Montfort University, Leicester; Southport and Newcastle-upon-Tyne universities sent out a questionnaire to all 156 NHS hospital trusts in England asking how they collected and reported data on post-operative wound infection for the national surgical site infection surveillance scheme. Replies were received from 106 (68%).

The results showed worrying inconsistencies between hospitals. For example, trusts which actively extended their surveillance to patients who had had knee replacement, after they had been disch
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Contact: Sian Brewis
news@dmu.ac.uk
44-116-207-8353
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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