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Lilycompassion … for SSI prevention in the 21    century

Aspiring for a zero tolerance approach to avoidable surgical site infections & provision of high quality care for all healthcare settings


Healthcare acquired infections have devastating consequences for patients. Establishing hospital acquired infection incidence is a critical component of continual quality improvement and patient safety programmes in any healthcare organisations or institutions.

Although surgical site infections (SSI) are estimated to account for at least 16% of all hospital acquired infections, it is generally thought that rates could be much higher if SSI surveillance was higher. More efforts should therefore be invested in surgical site infection surveillance programmes to establish the true SSI burden and implement strategies to improve patient outcomes.

About me

Lilian Chiwera

An enthusiastic surgical site infection surveillance and SSI prevention expert as well as aspiring consultant

I developed a growing passion for surgical patient safety during my 10 years of working as a lead nurse for a successful SSI surveillance programme at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.


I also have extensive clinical and pharmaceutical industry quality assurance/microbiology experience.

Now I want to campaign for more patients to have access to services that effectively monitor and mitigate SSI risk through effective SSI surveillance and prevention programmes.

My professional attributes

I am a very confident and enthusiastic SSI surveillance presenter/speaker.

  • I deliver inspirational talks which motivate and enthuse all grades of healthcare staff including decision makers

    • Local and international conferences

    • Study days

    • SSI module in various institutions or universities

  • I can help organisations set up cost effective SSI surveillance services and/or SSI prevention programmes

  • I can offer advice on:

    •  how to overcome organisational change management barriers to facilitate delivery of the best outcomes for patients

    • how to keep it real and maintain that patient focus in the midst of adversity

    • support strategies aimed at overcoming professional boundaries to implement successful quality improvement projects that benefit patients

    • Product design considerations to industry colleagues to ensure products meet patient needs, given my experience of working in the pharmaceutical industries and my extensive clinical experience

My biography

Infection Control Surveillance Team Leader at Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) since February 2009


I am /was:

  • a current member of the Cardiac SSI network where I have presented and shared various SSI prevention initiatives

  • a current member of the Infection Prevention Society Scientific Programme Committee (SPC)

  • a former Infection Prevention Society Education and Professional Development Committee (EPDC) member

  • a former member of the National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE) SSI quality standard Topic Expert Group (TEG) in 2013.


My extensive experience

  • Critical care nursing

  • Quality assurance in pharmaceutical industries

  • Microbiology in pharmaceutical industries

Presentation experience of SSIS work at various local, national and & international conferences

  1. Presenting on behalf of NICE following the publication of the NICE SSI quality standard in 2013 (London & Newcastle)

  2. Presenting at the Surgical Infection Society Europe conferences in Athens, Greece in 2018 and Dublin, Ireland in 2019

  3. Presenting at various Infection Prevention Society (IPS) conferences (branches and annual conferences)

  4. Presentations on behalf of Infection prevention Society’s  Education & Professional Development Committee (EPDC)

  5. Presentations at IPS Audit & Surveillance fora

  6. Presenting at Hospital Infection Society (HIS) conferences (Posters and oral)

  7. Presenting at various healthcare organisations in the UK

  8. I have presented at local conferences / study days and supported healthcare professionals from at least 36 NHS organisations who visited Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS foundation Trust to learn from our experiences or sent resources when requested.

  9. Presented at Kings Health Partners (KHP) safety Connections conferences

  10. Multiple local presentations at various fora


Achievements to date

  • Nightingale Nurse Award 2019

  • Part of Dame Sills Team (Infection control) of the year Award 2019

  • Winner of the best Infection Prevention Society poster award in 2013

  • Finalist Kings Health partners conference 2015 & 2017

  • Finalist for Nursing Times Awards 2014, 2016 & 2017

  • Finalist Patient Safety Awards 2017

  • Finalist NICE Shared Learning Awards 2017


Educational qualifications

MSc in Infection Prevention and Control

Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing studies

BSc. Honours degree in Applied Biology and Biochemistry, specialising in Microbiology.


1. Reducing adult cardiac SSIs through multidisciplinary collaboration

2. Reducing surgical site infection in paediatric scoliosis surgery

3. Successful implementation of NICE SSI quality standard 49

4. Can local champions drive forward initiatives to reduce cardiac surgical site infections?

5. Public health England Annual SSI report commentary – Hospital perspectives on page 37.

6. The Reduction of Surgical Site Infection in Vascular Patients

A few facts about SSIs

  • SSIs have devastating consequences for patients – pain, psychological implications, sepsis and even death

  • Most SSIs are avoidable

  • In 2016/17, the top 4 organisms causing SSIs according to UK data from Public Health England were:

    • Enterobacteriaceae

      • Therefore SSI prevention should be an integral part of antimicrobial stewardship and any infection programmes targeting antimicrobial resistance threats. UK AMR strategy here.

    • Staphylococcus aureus

    • Coagulase negative staphylococcus aureus

    • Meticillin sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA)

      • Numerous evidence is now available to suggest that MSSA screening and decolonisation of positive patients can reduce MSSA-associated HCAI.


  • SSIs have devastating human and economic costs, some UK evidence here.

  • A number of interventions can be considered to minimise SSI risk in line with latest evidence based recommendations from:

In the UK, various collaborations have already started looking at initiatives to prevent/reduce avoidable surgical site infections. These include:

OneTogether UK

Cardiac SSI Network

Quality Improvement in Surgical Teams

Get it Right the First Time


Globally, the following collaborations are also doing everything possible to drive forward the SSI prevention agenda.

World Surgical Infection Society

Surgical Infection Society Europe

Surgical Infection Society North America

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this social network are those of Lilycompassion and do not necessarily reflect the views of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

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