Simple blood monitoring system could save UK NHS millions and improve
Over 90% of surgery patients in the UK are failing to benefit from an
inexpensive and simple blood monitoring system that could dramatically
improve care for surgery patients and save the NHS millions of pounds.
The technology has a proven track record in significantly reducing
post-operative death and infections, but the National Institute for Health
and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has ruled that the technology falls outside
its remit for assessment as it is "considered a standard clinical practice
with risks and benefits that are well known."(1)
Haemodynamic monitoring of blood flow during and after surgery allows
doctors to detect and deal with problems through accurate administration of
fluid and drugs. In one NHS funded study, haemodynamic fluid optimisation
was associated with a 1.5 day median reduction in post operative hospital
stay and patients recovered faster and with fewer side effects.(2)
In another NHS Trust — Medway Maritime NHS Trust — the average length of
stay after surgery was reduced by three days. This equated to an approximate
saving of GBP800 per patient. Phase one introduction of the technology saved
the Trust in excess of GBP1million in a year.
Professor Monty Mythen, Professor of Anaesthesia and Critical Care,
University College of London, said today on behalf of the Improving Surgical
Outcomes Group (ISOG): "We welcome confirmation by NICE that improving
patients' post-operative prospects with haemodynamic monitoring during
surgery should indeed be standard practice for patients undergoing surgery
but we bitterly regret that this just isn't being implemented in many UK
hospitals at the moment. NICE may think this is a standard practice but the
figures show that this is in actual fact far from the case.
"Over 90% of patients undergoing surgery are not benefiting from a
technology that is absolutely in line with Department of Health policy to
implement the modernisation of care and improve surgical outcomes for
patients. The NHS Confederation has also been urging Trusts to make the new
NHS a reality by using new practices and technologies that can save lives,
time and money."
1. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2006).
2. Wakeling HG et al. Intraoperative oesophageal Doppler guided fluid
management shortens postoperative hospital stay after major bowel surgery.
British Journal of Anaesthesia 2005.
Source: The Improving Surgical Outcomes Group