2018 Operating Theatres Conference review

The Network delivered on another successful conference this month with NHS Benchmarking & Good Practice in Operating Theatres. We had fantastic attendance at the event, giving a great opportunity to network and share good practice.  

Professor Peter Kay, National Clinical Director (MSK) at NHS England, opened the conference with his keynote presentation on MSK Clinical Networks. Professor Peter Kay outlined the opportunities to reduce variation in clinical practice including standardised processes and enhanced recovery pathways, a topic returned to at the end of the day by one of our Good Practice speakers. Peter concluded that it is necessary to consider the whole pathway to influence theatre efficiency.

NHSBN Director, Claire Holditch, took to the stage to present the Network findings for Operating Theatres. Highlights covered :

  • Providers could consider more ringfencing of elective beds

  • There is scope to improve day case rates and same day admissions

  • There is an opportunity to focus weekend working in a smaller number of fully open departments

  • Trust’s could improve utilisation by starting on time and reducing variation in turnaround times.

The programme then focused on good practice and innovation from our member organisations. Jonathan Thomas, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, began the member presentations with an introduction into eRostering to ensure better efficiency and patient safety. Jonathan explored safe staffing levels, standardisation of shifts, and approval of rosters through the use of scheduling.

Southend University Hospitals (003).PNG

Keeping with theatre scheduling, we heard from the team at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. They split their presentation between two areas of good practice, which have improved their theatre activity. Firstly, the 6-4-2 process, whereby bookings are allocated in advance to identify available resources. They continued with their Theatres Electronic Emergency Board; which allows for all workflow to be auditable and tracked, as well as the ability to oversee cancellations and delays. Further developments in their electronic board are due to be implemented, but early adoptions of the process are positive.

The team from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust focussed on predicting theatre activity to deliver performance. Their Planning & Forecasting Future Activity model underpins their process and allows for winter pressures, waiting list targets and booking team targets.

The afternoon programme focused on staffing and workforce, with the team from Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust presenting their development programmes. The Trust identified recruitment challenges, and the opportunity to progress their Band 2 ATPs, to create a more flexible workforce. This was then expanded to offer a Band 6 development programme as well, which resulted in a Theatre specific patient questionnaire to improve patient experience.

We then heard from colleagues at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who delivered a three-fold presentation on their processes to enhance patient safety and improve team performance. A main focus of their presentation was on culture and interaction between staff, which underpin their programme: Civility Saves Lives.

Presenting their staffing review, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust gave an overview of the new roles they’ve introduced to overcome the shortage of registered staff. This included development opportunities and the introduction of Assistant Theatre Practitioner roles. Barnsley Hospital produced a skills matrix as well as providing clearer guidance on roles and responsibilities of staff.

Closing the conference was Professor Bill Fawcett, representing Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He presented on enhanced recovery programmes, giving an overview of ERAS and Royal Surrey’s local implementation of the programmes in action across cancer, colorectal and other specialties. It was identified that reduced length of stay was a key driver for the programme; other benefits include reduced medical complications compared to the standard programme.

Thank you to delegates and speakers for their input in the event and the project. Project outputs, including bespoke and national reports, will be circulated in November.

You can register onto our other Network conferences via the members’ area or contact Emma Pruce for more information.