A major surgery project led by clinicians from Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and found to increase patient survival is in the running for a prestigious award.

The Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative (ELC) has been shortlisted for the BMJ Awards 2019 in the Innovation in Quality Improvement category.

Laparotomy – or abdominal surgery – sees surgeons perform emergency operations in the abdominal cavity.

Between 30,000 to 50,000 of these high risk, complex procedures to treat life threatening conditions are performed across the UK every year.

Around 10 per cent of patients were reported to die within 30 days of surgery and over 25 per cent of those who survived remained in hospital for more than 20 days.

ELC was founded in 2015 to tackle this and has grown from the Emergency Laparotomy Pathway Quality Improvement Care (ELPQuIC) bundle that was run from Royal Surrey in 2012 with three other hospitals. The initial project was found to successfully decrease risk-adjusted mortality by 42 per cent.

After successfully being implemented in 28 hospitals across the South of England, ELC has now been commissioned by NHS England to run across the entire Academic Health Science Network and separately by NHS Wales.

The project is led by Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Geeta Aggarwal and Consultant Anaesthetist and Deputy Medical Director Dr Nial Quiney, who was previously named Quality Lead of the Year at the Health Service Journal Patient Safety Awards.

Dr Quiney said: “An emergency laparotomy is a major operation that involves opening the abdomen, thus allowing a surgeon to view a patient’s organs and repair any problems or damage that may have occurred.

“Usually this is an emergency and is a high risk procedure. Patients can develop multi-organ failure and sepsis.

“Having worked in the NHS for 25 years it struck me, about 10 years ago, that the mortality for this type of surgery was extremely high.

“This was unacceptable and I set about improving the care and reducing this high rate by using an evidence based care bundle and implement it.

“I am delighted to see that the work of the entire ELC project team and the 28 hospitals that we worked with continues to receive recognition.”

©2019 Royal Surrey County Hospital

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