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Could a new product save the NHS £6.5m a year?

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Surgical site infections affect around one in three patients

A new product used to prevent surgical site infections could save the NHS billions, according to a new report.

Essity, a global health and hygiene company has been given the green light by industry stalwart NICE, to go ahead with the product Leukomed Sorbact. 

After surgeries such as caesarean or vascular, medics can see a delay to healing and wound infections. SSI’s (surgical site infections) affect one in three patients undergoing surgery globally. This can result in the prescription of additional treatment such as antibiotics, or more seriously, further surgery and readmission to hospital. 

Statistics show 1 in 3 patients are affected by SSI’s and infections can result in readmission to hospital. This can have a huge effect on both the patient and the NHS, both financially and psychologically. Specifically for the patient there is a physiological cost– in and out of hospital, delayed recovery, out of action, loss of quality of life. And for the NHS there are financial costs – increased cost of treatment, antibiotics programme and increased length of stay for patients means financial and resourcing costs – staffing, provision of food, another bed full in the hospital.

There have been well documented concerns about the over use of antibiotics. By 2050, it is predicted that antimicrobial resistance will be responsible for 10 million deaths p/y worldwide. In order to prevent this, action must be taken at every level of wound care.

Cost modelling from Essity shows that the reduced rate of SSI with Leukomed Sorbact compared with standard surgical dressings leads to savings of £107 per patient after caesarean section and £18 per person after vascular surgery.

They say that by adopting Leukomed Sorbact technology it could save the NHS up to £6.5 million per year (up to £5.3 million per year for caesarean section and up to £1.2 million per year for vascular surgery). These cost savings are generated by an expected reduction in the number of people needing to stay in hospital for treatment of SSI.  

NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) is a public body set up in 1999 to create consistent guidelines and recommendations in healthcare. Its aim is to improve the quality, sustainability & productivity of health & social care.

Leukomed Sorbact (Essity), is a sterile, single-use, bacteria-binding, adhesive-bordered post-operative wound dressing. It is used to prevent surgical site infection (SSI) in closed surgical wounds. The dressing comprises an absorbent non-woven wound contact pad and an outer transparent adhesive polyurethane film. The pad is made of an absorbent viscose polypropylene and polyester mesh that is coated with the proprietary compound dialkylcarbamoyl chloride (DACC), marketed in the UK as Sorbact Technology. DACC is hydrophobic, meaning that it does not mix with water and tends to bind to itself or other hydrophobic materials if water is present.

In a moist wound environment, DACC binds to hydrophobic bacteria and fungi that can be a cause of SSIs. These bound microorganisms are then removed from the wound site when the dressing is changed. The DACC binding does not cause bacteria to be lysed (broken open), which avoids causing inflammation at the wound site. The bacteria- and water-proof polyurethane film is designed to maintain a moist environment and protect the wound from external contamination. The dressing is available in various sizes.

NICE considers the case for adoption based on the “claimed advantages of introducing the specific technology compared with current management of the condition”. After examining the evidence and in accordance with expert opinion, the guidance for adopting the technology is then granted. 

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