New cross-hospital working saves more patient lives

Posted: September 20, 2016

Mortality rates for patients needing emergency surgery improve

Survival rates for patients undergoing lifesaving and emergency stomach surgery at the Great Western Hospital have improved as part of a new safety initiative which brings together healthcare experts from across the south of England.
Doctors at the Swindon hospital have for the last 12 months been a key part of the Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative (ELC), which allows medical professionals to network across organisations to share learning and experiences to improve safety.
The mortality rate for patients having an emergency laparotomy at GWH has decreased from 11.4 per cent to just 2.6 per cent in the 12 months following the development of the ELC.
Patients will often be given an emergency laparotomy when suffering from severe abdominal pain as it allows the surgeon to investigate the cause of the problem. 
GWH is one of 30 hospitals taking part in the project which, apart from helping to save more lives, aims to lower the risk of surgical complications, increase consultant presence in theatre and reduce a patient's overall stay in hospital.
Dr Malcolm Watters, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, said: "This new way of working means our patients effectively have access to the knowledge and experience of the most senior doctors working at more than two dozen hospitals in the south of England.
"It really is fantastic news that the first year of the ELC has resulted in such an immediate and noticeable improvement for patients.

"From my point of view, being able to compare performance with colleagues while sharing problems and collectively finding solutions has been rewarding and invaluable."
Shared learning from the ELC has also played a big part in deciding where patients in need of the procedure are cared for before and after their op.
One hundred per cent of patients needing the procedure are now admitted directly to the Intensive Care Unit at GWH to benefit from round-the-clock monitoring by specially trained staff.

Elsewhere, the average length of stay for a patient at one of the hospitals taking part has fallen by 1.9 days and the time taken to get a patient into theatre has also improved, with 70 per cent now in surgery within two hours of a decision to operate being made.
The groundbreaking work of the ELC links directly to 500 Lives - Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's vision to save an extra 500 lives by 2020 through the continual provision of high quality care and treatment.

This good news comes just days after the Trust announced that 80 per cent of patients with sepsis were now expected to survive their diagnosis, which is significantly better than the national average.

Further information

For more information on the safety work taking place across the Trust, please see 500 Lives.

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