David Leaper

Professor David Leaper DSc MD ChM FRCS FACS FLS

Emeritus Professor of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Skin Integrity and Infection Prevention University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Emeritus Professor of Surgery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

 Professor Leaper qualified from Leeds Medical School in 1970 MB ChB (with honours) and trained in general surgery. He has the Fellowship in Surgery of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh, England and Glasgow; by thesis the MD and ChM; and the Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons. He was Senior Lecturer in Surgery/Consultant surgeon at the University of Bristol (1981-1995), Professor of Surgery at the University of Hong Kong (1988-1990) and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1995-2004). His surgical expertise was developed in colorectal and breast cancer, oncology and development of day case surgery.

Professor Leaper’s research interests include surgical site infection, sepsis and critical care, and wound healing. He is a past president of the Surgical Infection Society of Europe and the European Wound Management Association. He has published over 10 books, 50 chapters and 500 original research, review papers and abstracts (220 on PubMed).

Professor Leaper is a past member of the Court of Examiners of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and was an instigator of the Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient course (CCrISP)ong  Kong (1988-1990) H . He was Chair of the NICE guideline development group on SSI (published 2008 and updated 2013), and was a member of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection advisory committee (2007-2013).  

Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) were high on the agenda at the 4 th International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC) last week in Geneva. And it’s no surprise given the statistics - although no global registry exists to track surgical site infections, health authorities estimate that each year, one in five patients undergoing surgery acquires an infection. It is difficult to calculate the financial burden this places on health systems but NICE has suggested a cost of £700m a year in the UK. Whereas, in the US, the annual cost has been estimated to range from $3.5 billion to$10 billion . What the global cost must be is unknown, but there’s no doubt that it will be high. And this is an epidemic that knows no boundaries – from the most advanced, specialist healthcare centers to the most basic clinics, from the elderly and infirm to the young and healthy; there is unfortunately, a very real possibility of contracting an SSI. What’s also shocking is that approximately 50% of SSIs may be preventable . And with this in mind, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued global guidelines on the prevention of SSIs. This was a hotly debated topic of conversation during a symposium, held at last week’s conference – where several leading wound closure specialists came together to discuss the latest advancements and recommendations to ease the burden of SSIs. One innovation discussed was the use of antibacterial sutures. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests triclosan-coated sutures are an important tool in the fight against SSIs. The WHO has highlighted the use of triclosan-coated sutures across all types of surgery to reduce the risk of SSI, and further support has followed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the American College of Surgeons/Surgical...

David Leaper

University of Huddersfield and University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom