SDHB complication rise triggers review

The Southern District Health Board is reviewing patient care procedures after a recent rise in infections and other complications.

A report to be considered by the board tomorrow showed Dunedin and Invercargill hospitals were among the poorest performing DHBs for hospital-acquired complications, healthcare-associated infections and medication complications.

In almost all of those categories the trend line was worsening.

Acting quality and clinical governance executive director Hywel Lloyd said the rise in infections in particular was concerning.

Dunedin Hospital had just registered in the ‘‘red’’ zone — either being in the bottom 25% of DHBs, or more than 10% away from target — as had Invercargill, which was also newly red and had noted an increased number of incidents for the past eight recording periods.

‘‘The cost of harm to patients is substantial,’’ Dr Lloyd said.

Infections recorded included blood, urinary tract and operation site infections.

At Dunedin 148 infection incidents per 10,000 episodes of care were reported against a benchmark three-year average of 97, while at Invercargill 114 were recorded against a benchmark average of 77.

A recent audit of hand hygiene carried out the Health Quality and Safety Commission placed the SDHB highly, ranking it fourth out of 20 with an 88.5% compliance rate.

Nationally, the survey found health staff had a high compliance when doing anything involving a patient, but standards slipped before touching a patient and after touching a patient’s surrounds.

At Dunedin Hospital, 4.7% of admitted patients suffered a major hospital-acquired complication, against 3.4% of patients for peer hospitals across Australasia, while Invercargill was in line with other hospitals.

Those complications had a knock-on effect, 16% of bed days at Dunedin Hospital were from a patient recovering from such an incident.

Dunedin Hospital had shown improvement in medication complications but remained red due to ranking 15th out of 20 comparable hospitals, recording 40 incidents compared to a benchmark average of 25.

Invercargill ranked 10th out of 20.

In a separate report, SDHB clinical council chairman David Gow said medical staff intended to place greater emphasis on harm reduction and were working to implement a range of new patient safety projects, as well as review the board’s risk review process.



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