Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust: Avoiding surgical site infection at the time of surgery

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The trust has reduced MSSA infection after hip and knee replacements by two thirds, saving £1.2m by screening 13,000 people for both MSSA and anaemia, and then treating those who were colonised with MSSA before their operation. MSSA infections can lead to long-term health problems – including the need for revision surgery and even amputation – and a significant mortality rate: screening costs £8 and antibiotic treatment for the 20 per cent who carry the bug just £9. The evidence has been published to make the case for wider adoption.

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The aim is now to spread this approach through a safety collaborative. Thirty trusts have been recruited, the British Orthopaedic Association is a partner in the work, and £1.5m has been raised to fund an independent evaluation, fund some treatment costs and ensure coaching and learning support.

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