HTM03-01 Reducing risk of surgical site infections

HTM03-01 Reducing risk of surgical site infections

Ventilation is used extensively in all types of Healthcare premises to provide a safe and comfortable environment for patients and staff. More specialised ventilation is provided in areas such as Operating departments, critical care areas and Isolation facilities for primary patient treatment.

The Trust should aspire to provide a safe, high quality Healthcare Environment for its patients, staff and visitors. This is partially achieved by ensuring that The Trust premises are maintained to a high standard, comply with statutory and mandatory requirements and best practices as set out in HTM03-01.

The link between Surgical Site Infections and Theatre Air Quality has been well established, and any failures within the Operating Suite can expose patients and staff to unacceptable levels of contamination. In short, general ventilation systems which do not achieve and maintain the required standards can result in increased health risks to patients and other occupants.

In 2017/18 the NHS paid out roughly £2.2 billion in Clinical Negligence claims. How much of this could be saved by the Trusts and better spent on the current maintenance backlogs?

It is understandable that due to the growing age of many UK Hospitals, maintenance costs are increasing at an alarming rate year on year, however cutting back on critical maintenance should never be of detriment to the patients that you provide care for. Surgical Site Infections can be reduced if we correctly follow the guidelines established in HTM03-01.

The ventilation system should achieve not less than 75% of the design air change rate given in Appendix 2 of HTM03-01 Part A, or its original design parameters. The pressure regime should also achieve not less than 75% of the design value given in Appendix 2 of HTM03-01 Part A, or its original design parameters; and the pressure gradient relationships with regards to its surrounding areas must be maintained.

Should a critical care system be unable to achieve the standards set out above, IT SHOULD BE TAKEN OUT OF SERVICE.

Why put the patient and staff under unnecessary risk, the HTM Guidelines have been formulated and developed for very good reason. I believe that maybe now is the time to really dig deeper into those Annual Verification reports and make the right decision. So, in conclusion, are we really complying with the HTM03-01 Guidelines???

Plan diagram of operating suite showing airflow design and placement of air pressure stabilisers


By Nick Loader

Sales Manager, Apreco Limited

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