A survey of practicing UK surgeons has highlighted the importance of investing in high quality surgical gloves to improve surgical safety and create long term value for the NHS.

The survey, carried out by Creative Medical Research and commissioned by Mölnlycke, found that UK surgeons agree that using high quality surgical gloves provides greater long term value for the NHS, Improves surgical efficiency and patient outcomes and plays an essential role in improving both clinician and patient safety

Improved patient and clinician safety

Infection prevention and control in the operating theatre is of critical importance to surgeons. 100,000 needlestick injuries occur in the NHS each year, at an estimated cost to each NHS Trust of £500,000 each year. Qualitiative data from the survey highlighted serious concerns for surgeons and their team over exposure to blood borne viruses such as HIV. 92% of surgeons agreed that using high quality surgical gloves would reduce the chance of being exposed to blood borne viruses. High quality means fewer glove failures.

One general surgeon said they had ‘seen glove failure lead to significant anxiety and the need to take post exposure prophylaxis’. Another with over twenty years’ experience said, ‘Sharps injuries increase the risk of blood borne infections as well as physical and psychological trauma and may involve time off sick’.

Efficiencies and long term value

As the NHS prepares its spending priorities for the next five years, the survey revealed that 70% of surgeons think high quality gloves provide more long term value to the NHS by ensuring the safety and efficient working of surgeons and their teams. Three quarters of surgeons responded that higher quality surgical gloves save time during operations, leading to greater efficiencies whilst the majority of surgeons agreed that investing in high quality gloves leads to long term cost savings and better outcomes for the NHS.

Surgical gloves are one of the key factors that work together to prevent infections in the operating room and should not be viewed as a commodity. A surgical site infection can increase a patient’s hospital stay by an average of 16.8 days at a considerable cost to the taxpayer. As one surgeon with over 10 years’ experience said, ‘Surgical site infections have enormous implications for cost, morbidity, and lengthened hospitalisation.’

The survey also demonstrated the clear preference amongst surgeons for Mölnlycke’s Biogel® Surgical Gloves, with more than three quarters of surgeons stating that Biogel was their preferred choice. The survey also found that 90% of surgeons recognise Biogel as a high quality glove.