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Agency finds it harder to monitor infections after surgery as length of hospital stay falls

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 19 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1399
  1. Lisa Hitchen
  1. 1London

Many infections at surgical sites are not detected, an expert from the Health Protection Agency told a conference last week.

Yet they account for a substantial proportion of healthcare associated infections and lead to further disease, extended hospital stays, and increased healthcare costs, Jennie Wilson, the agency’s programme lead for surveillance of surgical site infections, said.

The agency’s surgical site infection surveillance service sets benchmark rates for infection and enables participating hospitals to compare and use their own data to improve, she said. A total of 300 English hospitals are registered with the service, and since 2004 all acute trusts with orthopaedic services must supply at least three months of data on infection rates after orthopaedic surgery.

Although rates submitted by hospitals taking part vary widely, rates overall have fallen since the service …

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