First patient report of National Emergency Laparotomy Audit published
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Today sees the publication of the full report from the inaugural National Emergency Laparotomy Audit (NELA). This publication presents data from over 20,000 patients and allows the 192 hospitals that contributed to see whether they meet recognised quality standards of patient care and, importantly, where there is a need for improvement.
The Audit reveals a wide variation in care across England and Wales, against existing, clearly defined standards. This continues to highlight the importance of bringing together the expertise of the medical Royal Colleges and Faculties to drive improvement in health and patient care through shared knowledge, education, training and adherence to standards.
The mortality rate for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy is 11%, considerably higher than for other high-risk planned surgery, where key resources such as consultant-led care and critical care are more readily provided.
Dr J-P van Besouw, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said there was an evident a shortfall in the resources allocated to emergency bowel surgery compared with those provided for elective surgical patients, commenting: “We hope that the results published in this report prompt determined efforts to ensure that patients undergoing an emergency laparotomy are provided with the right care at the right time and by the right teams."
Dr van Besouw also said it was essential for commissioners, Trust Boards and clinicians to act upon the report’s findings: “A balanced and open debate is required to discuss the appropriate use of limited resources against a backdrop of demand for 24/7 care. The RCoA looks forward to working closely with the Royal Colleges and Faculties to drive quality improvements in the care of patients.”
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