19 February, 2013
Project reduces infections in intensive care units
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has welcomed a report linking a national quality and safety project to a reduction in blood stream infections.
“In 2011, about four to six patients per month in New Zealand intensive care units developed a bloodstream infection called central line associated bacteraemia or CLAB. I am very pleased that the rate has now reduced to between zero and two patients per month,” says Mrs Goodhew.
Since October 2011 the Health Quality & Safety Commission has been working with Ko Awatea on a national project to reduce the number of these infections. Ko Awatea is the Centre for Health System Innovation and Improvement at Counties Manukau DHB.
“People who develop this type of infection are very ill, have to stay longer in hospital and have more medical complications,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“In addition to the personal consequences for patients and their families, each case of CLAB costs about $20,000. Reducing infection rates means this funding is able to be spent by DHBs in other areas of health care.
“Clinical leadership has been vital within DHBs and at a regional level, and I am very impressed with the increased focus and attention on preventing blood stream infections. I look forward to seeing CLAB rates remain at zero or nearly zero.
“The process of measuring infection and collecting and understanding the information has also greatly improved since the start of the project, with few intensive care units previously measuring CLAB rates.
“While the initial focus has been on intensive care units, the aim is for more clinical areas to have joined the programme by April 2013.”
The report Target CLAB Zero National Collaborative to Prevent Central Line Associated Bacteraemia, Annual Report September 2011 to August 2012 is available on the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s website www.hqsc.govt.nz.