Surgeon training aims to reduce infection risk and improve patient safety

A NEW education programme for trainee surgeons aimed at reducing infection risk and improving patient safety is being launched this month.

The new initiative, developed by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), builds on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Safe Surgery Saves Lives’ initiative. Those starting their basic surgical training this month will participate in the new teaching programme.

The web-based initiative has been developed to improve hand hygiene and make optimal use of antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.

It also focuses on the care of surgical sites after surgery and the prevention of bloodstream infection that can result from infected intravascular devices, such as catheters or “drips”.

RCSI professor of surgery Arnold Hill said the initiative was in line with the WHO’s recent prioritisation of patient safety to prevent healthcare-associated infection and its Safe Surgery Saves Lives that was endorsed by the RCSI.

Head of clinical microbiology at RCSI Prof Hilary Humphreys said the college was committed to promoting safe surgery and advancing the highest standards of surgical care for patients.

“Education to improve practice is a key component in preventing healthcare-associated infection and this RCSI initiative will maximise patient safety by enhancing the education of surgical trainees.”

The teaching programme will access the trainee’s current practice, their knowledge of interventions to minimise hospital-acquired infections and facilitate access to national and international guidelines. Healthcare-associated infection affects between one in 10 and one in 20 patients admitted to acute hospitals.

RCSI has carried out an audit of surgical practice and this will be repeated following the delivery of the teaching programme to measure the effectiveness of the initiative.


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