Healthcare: On the Agenda - Hospitals failing on emergency ops

In a nutshell

Thousands of NHS emergency surgery patients are being put at risk by poor hospital services, according to leading surgeons. A report commissioned by the Department of Health and published by the Royal College of Surgeons has identified significant variations in care experienced by the 170,000 patients who have major emergency abdominal surgery each year.

The report

The report, The Higher Risk General Surgical Patient: Towards Improved Care for a Forgotten Group, offers guidance to NHS Trusts. Poorly designed hospital services, particularly access to emergency operating theatres, are among the problems highlighted. Surgeons claim that, if implemented within two years, the recommendations would reduce complications and deaths, as well as reduce the cost of treating a group of patients who account for almost 90 per cent of post-operative general surgical deaths.

PR strategy

The RCS in-house media team handled the PR for the story. Broadcast media were briefed several days in advance and Salford Royal Foundation Trust was approached to facilitate filming of its emergency surgical facilities, used to illustrate best practice.

Media coverage

BBC, ITV and Sky all filmed at Salford, resulting in coverage on the Today programme, Sky News, BBC Breakfast, Daybreak and BBC news bulletins. The story also gained coverage in The Daily Telegraph, The Express, the Daily Mail and The Guardian.

9 - Recommendations made by the RCS

25k - patients who require high risk general surgery annually will die.

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