Theatres Benchmarking 2016 – Findings published

The Theatres project provides the most comprehensive intelligence available on NHS operating theatres delivery and performance. The project covers all aspects of Theatres provision and performance including analysis of:

  • Theatres management
  • Capacity
  • Equipment and maintenance
  • Stock control and costing
  • IM&T
  • Decontamination
  • List management
  • Theatre utilisation
  • Paediatrics
  • Activity
  • Turnaround time
  • Cancellations
  • Outsourcing
  • Finance
  • Quality
  • Audit and accreditation
  • Workforce
  • Good practice

The 2016 project covered 92 submissions across NHS Trusts in England, Health Boards in Wales and Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.  Participants can access an online toolkit, summary report, and, for the first time this year, bespoke reports highlighting organisation’s own positions. Outputs are available from the members' area.

The headline findings from the Network’s Operating Theatres project highlight some of the innovations taking place to manage the increasing pressure on NHS services. Organisations have the opportunity to review their positions locally and identify any unwarranted variation between their organisation and the national mean. The Network enables the sharing of good practice examples and are able to facilitate this through exchange of project lead contact details (with the relevant permissions) and via the Network’s Knowledge Exchange.

Findings from the Theatres 2016 project include:

  • 76% of operating theatres have an appointed Operating Theatres Clinical Director, of these; 76% are Consultant Anaesthetists, 20% are Consultant Surgeons and 3% other.
  • There is still a relatively low uptake on the use of theatre robots, the most common speciality to use theatre robots is Urology (71%).
  • 96% of theatres have an electronic operating theatre management information system and 71% have a dedicated system manager or administrator.
  • 93% of participants have a preoperative assessment included in Trust policy and on average this is undertaken 11 days before surgery.
  • Compliance with safety and compliance is high across all national standards.
  • Operating lists are generally finalised between 2-9 days before the list takes place.
  • Outsourcing of activity has remained consistent with that reported in 2014 of 67%, but the use of NHS providers has increased.
  • 61% of lists start late and 45% finish early, and there is a wide variation in anaesthetic and turnaround times.

The Theatres project runs on a biennial cycle with the next phase of data collection due in 2018/19, however further scoping and refinement of this project will take place in 2017/18.

For more information on this work please contact:

Jessica Grantham, Project Manager

David Hughes

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