Survey of surgeons highlights the importance of high quality surgical gloves

A survey of practising 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

Plays an essential role in improving both clinician and patient safety

Improved patient and clinician safety

At a time when surgical gloves are often viewed within budget reconciliation as a commodity, chosen on price over quality, the results of the survey show that ensuring safety for surgeons, their teams and patients is at the forefront of clinicians’ minds. It revealed that nearly all (87%) surgeons believe that higher quality surgical gloves improve patient safety and (91%) improve clinician safety in the operating theatre. The majority of surgeons found that using high quality surgical gloves reduces the chance of sharps injuries during surgery.1

Infection prevention and control in the operating theatre is of critical importance to surgeons. 100,000 needlestick injuries occur in the NHS each year 2, at an estimated cost to each NHS Trust of £500,000 each year3. 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 Survey of surgeons highlights the importance of high quality surgical glovesagreed that using high quality surgical gloves would reduce the chance of being exposed to blood borne viruses.1High quality means fewer glove failures4. A glove failure can be anything from a defect upon opening, an accidental tear upon donning to a puncture in use.  

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. High quality means fewer glove failures4. What costs more? High quality or dealing with staff and patients exposure to infection? A surgical site infection can increase a patient’s hospital stay by an average of 16.8 days at a considerable cost to the taxpayer5. 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.