General surgery SSI surveillance

Background

In 2018, all health boards in Wales participated in a pilot of the surveillance of SSI following colorectal procedures. Public Health Wales is currently working to reduce infections following these procedures across Wales by engaging surgical teams into a quality improvement programme of work.

For this scheme, data are collected using a web form designed in conjunction with orthopaedic surgeons in Wales. Data collected on the form includes demographic details of the patient, detail on the procedure carried out. The web form allows a range of general surgical procedures to be captured (including colorectal, appendix, hernia repair surgery etc.).  For the majority of general surgical procedures all patients are given antibiotics prior to the procedure to lower the risk of infection occurring. This data is important and the antibiotic(s) prescribed are captured on the form.

Importantly, data is captured on whether a patient develops an infection after the surgery and this can be recorded for up to 30 days after surgery. Details are recorded on the type of infection that develops and if any bacteria are involved. In addition, details are recorded on whether the patient is readmitted to hospital and the treatment required. This may include treatment to manage a wound or in some cases revision surgery to treat the wound. In some cases revision surgery may occur to explore a possible infection or due to other complications of surgery. Surgical teams capture all the required data before being analysed by Public Health Wales.

Protocol, guidance and training

The colorectal SSI surveillance protocol includes detail on the data capture method used and analysis of the data

A guide to the SSI web form details how to access and enter the required colorectal dataset 

SSI web form user guide

Data can be submitted to the surveillance scheme here.

Access to the web form is restricted to authorised staff members only. To request to be added to the authorised users list, please send an email to harp@wales.nhs.uk, and include your NADEX ID (e.g. ab123456).

HARP has developed an SSI training package specific to C-section surgery that includes a training booklet and a presentation for local training, complete with trainer notes. This training package can be used or adapted to cover SSI training around colorectal procedures.

Further guidance around risk factors of SSIs and reducing these infections can be found at the following: