Mortality from emergency bowel cancer surgery remains high

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 29 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7742
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Death rates after urgent and emergency surgery for colorectal cancer remain high despite a general improvement in the care of patients with bowel cancer, the latest figures for England and Wales show.

The 2011 national bowel cancer audit shows that the overall proportion of deaths within 30 days of surgery for colorectal cancer fell from 4% to 3.7% in the previous 12 month period. The percentage of deaths within 30 days for elective and scheduled surgery fell from 2.6% to 2.4% over the year.

However, the report, commissioned by the Department of Health for England and published by the NHS Information Centre, found that the death rate for urgent surgery remained static at 6% and that for emergency surgery rose from 10% to 11.2%.

Responding to the report, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland called on the NHS to make more consultant time available for emergencies and for wider …

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