NHS Patients missing out on life-Saving Surgery

14 April 2014

surgery, NHS, NHS compensation claim, Mistreatment.com

NHS patients missing out on Life-saving surgery

New robotic treatments to help surgeons when undergoing surgery on patients are not being used properly by NHS hospitals, surgeons warn.

According to a new report by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) patients under the NHS are missing out on new, potentially life-saving, surgical procedures because of the failure of British hospitals to organise the promotion of their use within the UK.

The report is called “Innovation to Adoption: Successfully Spreading Surgical Innovation” and is focused on promoting the need to find, introduce and implement new surgical techniques and to do as quickly as possible. The objective of the adoption is simple: save lives and help the NHS save money.

Mistreatment.com has spoken to a number of NHS patients and clients who have been treated with the kind of new surgical techniques the report mentions. The advancements in surgery treatment include robotics, lasers and 3D-imagery. At the same Mistreatment.com has spoken to those who have found hospitals have not been quick enough to adopt this new, life saving technology due to the fact that British hospitals are too slow to introduce them across the board in the NHS. Has their care been impacted as a result?

Surgeons are now worried that this haphazard approach to introducing progressive and life-saving surgical treatment options is hurting patient safety outcomes both now and certainly in the future.

Patients are being neglected

"Many patients are not benefiting from ground-breaking procedures, even when surgeons firmly believe that they can save or extend lives. This cannot continue," said Professor Norman Williams, the RCS president. "We cannot afford to neglect the kind of surgical innovation that has made such a difference to survival and recovery, such as keyhole surgery and advancements in transplant surgery."

Professor Williams maintained that both the government as well as doctors had to understand how best to progress the introduction of innovative surgical practices in the UK and that this was the best way to save more lives.

David Neal, professor of surgical oncology at Cambridge University expressed the need for the NHS to test the technologies and that the time was ripe for innovation within the NHS:

NHS is the perfect place to test new technologies.

"The NHS is the perfect place to test new technologies," he said. "It covers the whole country and gives us an ideal platform for showing the worth of a new surgical technique. Unfortunately, this is not being done. The NHS does not seem to be able to tackle this sort of thing. Instead, we are relying, in many cases, on tests being done in the US, where there are commercial pressures involved."

One of the examples of the kind of new surgery technology that can make a difference to patient care in the NHS is a robotic assisted technique to treat prostate cancer in the UK. It is known as robot-assisted radical prostatectomy or RARP. Neal has been involved in using this and can clearly see its benefits saying that:

"The technique greatly improves a human surgeon's performance. Using current methods, a patient is typically in hospital for around five days, while around 20% of them need blood transfusions. With Rarp, they can leave the next day and only about 1% of patients need a transfusion."

The new technique currently treats only 200 prostate cancer patients a year, which is not enough according to Neal.

NHS innovation is needed to improve patient care outcomes

"That is far to low a figure. We need to introduce the technique to enough hospitals to treat around 10,000 patients a year, but that is not happening."

Mistreatment.com has spoken to clients about cases where outdated medical equipment has been used, particularly in cancer departments, and as future patient care outcomes change in line with advanced surgical techniques, it is arguable the need to promote robots in medicine will be of great importance for a future NHS.

Presently, the NHS has not funded the purchase of a single surgical robot. Funding has instead come from charities and endowments to provide the cash to buy them.

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Mistreatment.com has a number of specialist departments which deal with enquiries relating to a variety of medical health complaints and medical related negligence areas. Mistreatment.com was created to listen to talk to people who feel that they had nobody at the NHS to listen to them when something went wrong. Members of the public who call through to us often want to raise an issue within NHS care so that somebody else is not affected the way their and their loved ones have been. Sometimes they call through to us to make a medical negligence claim because a financial settlement is needed to rebuild their life and to take care of their family. If you have experienced a form of medical mistreatment through emergency services, A&E or through surgery, for example, you can speak to the experts at Mistreatment.com