Hospital teams from across the West Midlands gathered in Birmingham for the launch of the region’s Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative (ELC).
The initiative, overseen by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN), aims to scale up the successful work done previously by the original collaborative, leading to small step improvements in care. These marginal gains will then lead to significant improvements in care, ultimately saving more lives and allowing more patients to return to an active and healthy life.
Emergency laparotomy (known as EmLap) is a major surgical procedure, with more than 30,000 performed every year in the UK. However, around 15% of patients are reported to die within 30 days of surgery. Over 25% of patients remain in hospital for more than 20 days after surgery, costing the NHS over £200m a year. A health economics analysis suggests every £1 spent will result in approximately £4.50 benefit to the wider health and social economy.
Dr Julian Sonksen, WMAHSN clinical lead for the ELC and consultant in anaesthetia and intensive care medicine said: “One major focus is to make each step of the emergency laparotomy pathway ‘easier to complete tomorrow than it was today’. As well as improving standards of care for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy during the two-year programme, the collaborative hopes to ensure the continuous Quality Improvement culture becomes embedded within and between hospitals to ensure sustainability of change.
““Very encouragingly 13 out of the 14 Hospitals in the West Midlands which carry out these procedures sent representatives to the launch event. In addition to most of the Surgical and Anaesthetic consultant National Emergency Laparotomy Audit leads from each Trust we had representatives from different specialties and disciplines including theatre nurses, assessment unit nurses, emergency department consultants, radiologists, surgical and anaesthetic trainees, care of the elderly consultants, Surgical Director of operations, General Management, Analysts and more.
“This overwhelmingly positive response from hospital teams and the active participation on the day demonstrates the high importance these teams give to tackling and improving this complex and high-risk pathway. We had a mix of speakers including nationally renowned experts, as well as local clinicians describing and sharing their knowledge and expertise. The facilitated workshops generated ideas and plans for teams to take back to their hospitals”.
Speakers included Dr Nial Quinney, former national lead for the ELC, and Mr Nick Lees, chair of the
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh panel which developed the new standards document for management of the higher-risk surgical patient.
Emergency Laparotomy is just one of the national workstreams the WMAHSN is working to embed in the region. You can find out more about the other national priorities here.