Surgical patients are not receiving the care they should, finds inquiry

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 08 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7983
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

The care of patients in the UK before and after surgery needs to be radically overhauled to identify those at high risk of complications and death, to ensure they get the appropriate care, say the authors of a nationwide audit.

The latest National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) shows that only half of high risk surgical patients received care that the advisers said they would accept from themselves or their own institutions.

The inquiry describes a damning list of essential services that are absent in many UK hospitals, putting patients at greater risk of death after surgery. It collected data on 19 097 patients who underwent surgery during one week in March 2010 in 301 hospitals and retrospectively reviewed data on 829 high risk patients.

It found that 16% of hospitals had no preadmission anaesthetic assessment clinic and 17% had no surgical assessment …

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