Operating theatre teams will have a ‘marathon’ ahead as they battle to reduce waiting lists for elective surgery.
The British Association for Day Surgery’s annual virtual conference highlighted the need to tackle national variation in day case surgery, as part of the road to recovery.
At the British Association for Day Surgery annual conference on ‘Using day surgery to recover elective surgery in the era of COVID-19’, held in March this year, the pressures facing theatre teams in the wake of the pandemic were high on the agenda. Professor Tim Cook, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive medicine, Royal United Hospital NHS Trust, Bath, discussed the current issues facing elective surgery and the scale of the challenge ahead. He showed evidence of the huge backlog of patients awaiting elective surgery and stressed there is a “pressing practical and moral imperative to address the waiting lists”.
He opened the discussion by highlighting the latest research which shows that the timing of surgery for patients who have had COVID has a significant impact on outcomes.1 Led by experts at the University of Birmingham, more than 25,000 surgeons worked together as part of the COVIDSurg Collaborative to collect data from 140,727 patients in 1,674 hospitals across 116 countries. The study found that patients are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to die after their operations, if the procedure takes places in the six weeks following a positive diagnosis for SARS-CoV-2.
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