GIRFT launches infection audit

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Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) has launched a new audit of patients with surgical site infections (SSIs), particularly examining their care peri- and post-operatively. Trainee doctors from across the country have been recruited to collate infection data from their trusts.

The audit has the support of Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Improvement and Public Health England and focuses on some specific procedures within the key surgical specialties that are currently part of the wider GIRFT programme.

During GIRFT’s wider reviews, including analysis of data and hospital visits, it has become clear that in many cases trusts and surgeons are not aware of the infection rates for their speciality. As a result GIRFT has launched an audit to collect data prospectively and retrospectively.

The prospective data collection will run from 8 May 2017 to 31 October 2017 and will be undertaken by doctors in training working within the surgical specialties concerned, as part of their supervised training. Data will be presented monthly at trust level to colleagues within each specialty through local clinical governance and surveillance meetings. The volunteers will also undertake a retrospective review of SSIs from 1 November 2016 – 7 May 2017.

Participating trainees will be given certificates of participation and the opportunity to present at the annual NHS Improvement Operational Productivity Directorate meeting held for Medical Directors.

The specific surgical interventions involved have been identified by the clinical leads of the GIRFT programme as most likely to drive improvement efforts by senior clinicians to reduce SSIs. The intention is for clinicians to examine SSIs per surgical team and decide whether key aspects of good practice in SSI prevention are being followed during the whole admission episode up until discharge.

This audit-based initiative to encourage the scrutiny of SSIs and their will not interfere with the complementary collection and publication of surveillance data on SSIs undertaken by Public Health England, which serves a different purpose. It is likely that collection of this data will become compulsory for all trusts as part of the solutions being developed from the GIRFT programme, with data for each speciality used within the Model Hospital portal.

For any information about the audit please email:

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