Papers And Originals

Ward Design in Relation to Postoperative Wound Infection: Part I

Br Med J 1971; 1 doi: (Published 09 January 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;1:67
  1. H. G. Smylie,
  2. A. I. G. Davidson,
  3. A. Macdonald,
  4. G. Smith


    The incidence of postoperative wound infection in a general surgical unit is reported both before and after transfer from a “Nightingale” type multibed ward to a new “race-track” type of surgical ward with controlled ventilation and with 40% of its beds in single rooms. Following transfer postoperative wound infection was reduced by about 55%.

    With the use of certain types of staphylococcal infection as an index of cross-infection it was shown that transfer was followed by a 72% reduction in cross-infection of wounds.

    A case is made for control of hospital cross-infection in surgical wards. The principal change in ward architecture resulting from the transfer was the extensive division of ward space into separate compartments (40% of single-bed rooms), which make controlled ventilation easier.