Clinician-led surgical site infection surveillance of orthopaedic procedures: a UK multi-centre pilot study

M Morgan, J Black, F Bone, C Fry, S Harris, S Hogg, A Holmes, S Hughes, N Looker, G McIlvenny, J Nixon, J Nolan, A Noone, J Reilly, J Richards, E Smyth, A Howard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The UK Department of Health established the Healthcare-associated Infection (HAI) Surveillance Steering Group in 2000 to develop a strategy for implementing a national programme for HAI surveillance in National Health Service trusts. A subgroup of this committee examined the surveillance of surgical site infections following orthopaedic surgery. This group oversaw a pilot scheme that was set up in 12 hospitals around the UK to explore the feasibility of implementing a system of surveillance that engaged clinical staff in its operation, provided a process for continuous data collection and could be maintained as part of routine hospital operation over time. A minimum data set was established by the subgroup, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitions of infection were used. By March 2003, the surveillance had been undertaken continuously in 11 sites for one to two years, depending on the date of implementation. Only one hospital had ceased data collection. The information was collected mainly by clinical staff, with support and co-ordination usually provided by infection control teams. Data on more than 5400 procedures were available for analysis for four core procedures: arthroplasty of the hip and knee; hemi-arthroplasty of the hip; and internal fixation of trochanteric fractures of the femur. The data set permitted the calculation of risk-adjusted rates, allowing comparisons between hospitals and within a hospital over time. The methodology enhanced clinical ownership of the surveillance process, re-inforced infection control as the responsibility of all staff, and provided timely feedback and local data analysis. The use of CDC definitions permitted international comparisons of the data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number3
Early online date22 Mar 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005


  • healthcare-associated infection surveillance
  • surgical site
  • orthopaedic surgery
  • arthroplasty
  • hemi-arthroplasty fixation
  • trochanteric fractures


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