Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Warning Over Emergency Bowel Surgery Care

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 07/07/2015

An audit commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on care in England and Wales has found that the treatment of people needing emergency bowel surgery is insufficient in some hospitals.

Hospital healthcare must improve

The National Emergency Laparotomy Audit team found that 1 in 10 patients who undergo unplanned, emergency bowel surgery die within 30 days of the surgery.

Failures in Care

The key findings of the audit are as follows:

  • In 30-40% of cases, standards of care were not reached
  • 1 in 6 did not receive their operation in recommended timeframes
  • Patients vulnerable to sepsis were not given antibiotics in time
  • Huge variations in clinical management
  • Failures in post-operative care with only 60% being admitted to critical care unit, even though all patients should be

With over 30,000 people each year requiring urgent bowel surgery on the NHS, these figures are concerning. This shows that more certainly needs to be done to safeguard patients from the risk of substandard care.

Prospects of Reform

Ms Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, comments;

"The audit demonstrates patients are still not accessing a consistently high standard of care from initial assessment through to post-operative care. Such patients need to become a priority for the NHS to improve outcomes for these patients."

"We need a concerted focus on how emergency services can deliver the standards laid down in the audit. We need to work with hospitals to examine their current practises to identify ways to improve and raise standards of patient care."

Helen Donaghy, Assistant Head of Medical Negligence here at Simpson Millar shares her views:

"The figures are shocking; this audit certainly highlights an absolutely needless loss of life. Hospitals must take this on board, review their practice and improve their service so that everybody has access to the same level of care."

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