An Auckland health board has come last-equal in a national ranking on one measure to help prevent surgical infections in patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery.
Infections at the site of surgery can lead to major pain, extra surgery, extended hospital stays and a greatly increased risk of death.
The Health Quality & Safety Commission has begun measuring and publicly comparing state hospitals' compliance with three healthcare practices proven to reduce the risk of surgical site infections.
The commission said 1.6 per cent of the 1883 hip and knee replacement operations reported by the 20 district health boards had a surgical site infection from July to September last year.
Infection data was not yet available by DHB, but Counties Manukau told the Herald its rate in hip and knee surgeries was 1.9 per cent last year.
It was recorded as giving antibiotics to patients in the hour before the first incision in just half of first-time hip or knee replacements in July to September last year.
The goal is 100 per cent, and the national average was 89 per cent.