Published: 16 February 2015

Life-saving project wins £500,000 investment

The Health Foundation has awarded funding to a project originating from Royal Surrey County Hospital

The excellent news was acknowledged by Guy Boersma, Managing Director of KSS AHSN in the announcement below:

Emergency laparotomy is a difficult and high-risk surgical procedure. It involves making an incision to provide access to the abdominal cavity. It’s usually performed on patients with acute abdominal problems such as obstruction or perforation of the bowel or other abdominal organs. Around 80,000 such operations are carried out in the UK each year. The risk of the patient dying within 30 days of the operation is about 15%. For the elderly and patients with complex co-existing medical problems mortality rates can be even higher.


It’s great news then that a project, originating at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, to improve survival after emergency surgery (emergency laparotomy) has won funding worth £500,000 from the Health Foundation. We were delighted to back the bid to the Health Foundation given its focus on bringing investment into the sharing of best practice amongst local health economy members. The award will be used to accelerate the introduction of a potentially life-saving clinical pathway to reduce deaths in hospital. It will spread best clinical practice to more than 20 hospital trusts in the south of England. 


Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH) at Guildford worked with three other hospitals in Bath, Torbay and Exeter to create the Emergency Laparotomy Pathway Quality Improvement Care Bundle.


The original project at RSCH has seen a positive impact on patient safety with a 25% reduction in the crude mortality rate. The Royal Surrey County Hospital statistics show this is good clinical practice worth spreading faster. The project will now attempt to deliver this level of improvement in all participating hospitals. It will support hospitals to review their own key data metrics and use quality improvement science to continue to both provide and improve their standard of care after project completion. It expects to save lives by standardising the care received by all patients undergoing emergency laparotomy.




I’m delighted that we have helped attract money into AHSN member organisations across Kent, Surrey and Sussex and the South of England. We are working with the AHSNs covering the West of England and Wessex to support the Royal Surrey County Hospital to accelerate roll out of this project across the south of England. This sort of collaboration enables innovative best practice to reach more patients more quickly. It also strengthens business cases and enhances our ability to bring investment into the region’s health economy.

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