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RCS response to NHS Improvement study on operating theatre efficiency

24 Oct 2017

NHS hospitals could carry out 280,000 more non-emergency operations a year by organising operating theatre schedules better according to a new NHS Improvement study which is due to be published later this week. 

Responding to the study, a Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) spokesperson said:

"The RCS is supportive of any initiatives which reduce waste and help increase the number of procedures that surgeons can perform. The NHS is under intense pressure so it is vital we look to make improvements that allow patients to be treated quickly and efficiently. 
"NHS Improvement has not yet published their full report, so it is difficult to determine how they reached the number of 280,000 procedures. In addition, the study looked only at theatre lists that went ahead and did not consider why some operations were cancelled. These figures represent only 7% of the current NHS waiting list in any one month, so clearly this will not solve all of the challenges facing surgery. 
“There are many ongoing factors that result in theatre efficiency not being as we would wish it to be.  Bed shortages for example remains a major issue for surgery. Unless we reduce delayed discharges which lead to beds being blocked and separate out planned and emergency work streams so that beds are protected for elective surgery, we will not be able to maximise efficiency in surgical departments. Equally having protected theatre time for planned surgery and separate emergency theatre lists will limit cancellations and enhance efficiency for planned surgery."


Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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