New programme helps cut emergency surgery waits

Date: 30 August 2017

Emergency surgery

Thanks to the introduction of a new quality improvement programme developed by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), eligible patients who come to A&E with gallbladder pain may now have surgery much sooner than before. 

Gallstones are a very common cause of abdominal pain leading to a visit to the emergency department. 

Before the introduction of this programme, emergency patients who came to A&E with an inflamed gallbladder or gallstone-related pancreatitis may have gone home with antibiotics to schedule a time to return for an operation. Depending on the urgency, this could be anything from eight weeks to several months. 

“We have been able to drastically reduce the time that patients who come to the emergency department with gallbladder problems have to wait for their operation”, said Neil Kukreja, Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal and Emergency Surgeon. “The way these patient are treated can vary considerably, but by making changes to our processes according to this RCS programme, we have been able to streamline the management of our acute gallbladder patients. 

“We now have dedicated ultrasound slots for gallbladder patients, and emergency surgeons who look after this specific group. Also, our Health Care Assistants play a major role in the management and scheduling of operations.” 

There are currently 14 hospitals participating in the programme which launched at the end of last year. 

“We have made major improvements over the last six months, with patients waiting less time than they did before”, said Mr Kukreja. “Plus, thanks to being part of this programme, we have also been able to look at ways we can reduce the waiting time for patients who require non-urgent operations. We hope that this will make vast improvements in the delivery of care for our patients.”

  • Summary:

    Thanks to the introduction of a new quality improvement programme developed by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), eligible patients who come to A&E with gallbladder pain may now have surgery much sooner than before.