“What we’ve got to do is look at what is the impact of having a wound infection, or a surgical site infection, on the patient, on the doctor and the healthcare professionals, as well as the economic burden within the NHS.”
As somebody who has become highly knowledgeable on these what these impacts of a surgical site infection (SSI) are, it is why Giles Bond-Smith is so passionate around improving the processes and attention paid to it within the NHS.
The Emergency General/HPB surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust joined host Matt Roberts on NHE’s Finger on the Pulse podcast discussing some of the challenges commonly faced around this type of infection prevention, but also the opportunities to innovate as well.
“We should be doing everything possible to look at how we can mitigate surgical site infections for our patients.
“Typically, as surgeons, we don’t really pay much attention to our wounds, but the patients do. How does a patient judge whether an operation went well or not? They look down at their wound; they see how big it was.
“If the wound is less in size than the wound is in their mind, they think we’ve done well. If the wound heals beautiful, people show it and say the operation went very well.
“Whereas, if someone’s had a complete wound dehiscence due to infection, they feel the operation was a disaster. Now, it might not have been, but that’s how the patient perceives it, and we’ve got to take this more seriously.”
But how do we tackle surgical site infections and ensure the wounds can heal neatly, safely and quickly for the patient?
One of the ways, as Giles explains during the podcast episode, is to look at some of the really simple but innovative technology out there – such as the antibacterial Ethicon PLUS sutures he and his team uses – as ways to improve patient outcomes without having to drastically alter the way in which these surgeries are performed.
Much of the success instead can come from small, incremental gains in the procedures, awareness and tools being utilised by surgeons.
Listen to Ep 24. of NHE’s Finger on the Pulse podcast with Giles Bond-Smith: