Our general surgical team is at the British Medical Journals Awards 2017 finals tonight in London after having been shortlisted for the prestigious Surgical Team of the Year Award.
They have made it through after the department submitted an application titled “Better Emergency Surgical Care” which focussed on consultants' on-call rotas. After a significant change in their working practice, there has been a 50% reduction in mortality after major emergency surgery.
The work came about after new standards were set by the Royal College of Surgeons. Surgeon Mr Arin Saha said: "We looked at the guidelines from the Royal Colleges and realised they were impossible to meet using traditional on-call rotas. We were no worse than anywhere else in the country but we wanted to be better so we designed a new rota and markedly changed the way we delivered emergency surgical care within the Trust”. The consultants moved from traditional on-call rotas, where they would be on-call for 72 or 96 hours at a time, to formal day or night shifts. “With the old rotas you might be on-call at night then be scheduled to work the next day. On the new rotas, when you are working at night you can devote yourself to it fully knowing you'll have the next 12 hours clear for rest."
The early impacts were astonishing. Death after emergency laparotomy has halved from 12% to 6% whereas it remains at around 11% in the rest of the UK. The time to see a consultant surgeon after admission is down to five hours and length of stay is down by 20%. As a result, the team has already won the inaugural National Emergency Laparotomy Audit prize in 2016 from the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland and other Trusts around the country are coming to Huddersfield to see how it was achieved.
Arin, with us as a Upper GI consultant surgeon since Jan 2015 and a registrar before that, said: "The teamwork in the Department of General Surgery here is fantastic and without the buy-in from all the consultants, these remarkable improvements could not have been achieved.
"We have a very cohesive and honest culture. Where there are problems they are discussed openly and everyone is very well-supported. There is always a strong emphasis on safety and the department is very forward thinking."
All the finalists were invited to a presentation in at BMA House in London before the judges back in March and tonight the winners will be revealed.
Mr Saha said that the team had been well-received at shortlisting and that the judging panel were impressed with what had been achieved. "We are up against some very big guns in the UK so to be even shortlisted is amazing and a real source of satisfaction and pride for the Trust and our wider area."
Here's the full line-up for their category: