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South African Journal of Surgery

On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361


PUTTERGILL, B; KRUGER, D; BRAND, M  and  VELLER, MG. Suture material use and procurement: an audit of a public hospital surgical system in Gauteng, South Africa. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2018, vol.56, n.2, pp.45-49. ISSN 2078-5151.

INTRODUCTION: Surgical systems are integral to successful, safe and cost effective clinical practice and must balance surgical demands on consumable items and their costs. Suture material is a key consumable resource, and was evaluated in an audit of consumable use and cost as well as the procurement systems within the South African Gauteng public health care sector AIMS: To determine suture use and cost in the four commonest general surgical procedures - abdominal wall closure, mastectomy, appendicectomy and inguinal hernia repair - in three academic Gauteng hospitals. Performance and availability were evaluated as a secondary aim in suture material use METHODS: A prospective observational study. Suture use was documented by the surgeon at the time of the procedure and qualitative investigation at relevant hospital departments determined suture material procurement and expenditure RESULTS: The surgeons in three facilities documented consistent material type and average number of units used; however, in some cases there was a lack of availability of appropriate material and breakage of generic material intraoperatively. There is no consistent and consolidated electronic record-keeping of suture stock and cost in all three hospitals, therefore cost of suture material used was not obtainable CONCLUSION: Clinical deficiencies in availability and quality of material may have adverse implications for patient health, healthcare costs and budgets through procedure-related complications and should be investigated. There is a lack of communication between the financial management, procurement officers, hospital and theatre stores and theatre staff. It is suggested that clinical protocols and system-based strategies be put in place to manage surgical consumables

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