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1.  Developing a placebo-controlled trial in surgery: Issues of design, acceptability and feasibility 
Trials  2011;12:50.
Surgical placebos are controversial. This in-depth study explored the design, acceptability, and feasibility issues relevant to designing a surgical placebo-controlled trial for the evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of arthroscopic lavage for the management of people with osteoarthritis of the knee in the UK.
Two surgeon focus groups at a UK national meeting for orthopaedic surgeons and one regional surgeon focus group (41 surgeons); plenary discussion at a UK national meeting for orthopaedic anaesthetists (130 anaesthetists); three focus groups with anaesthetists (one national, two regional; 58 anaesthetists); two focus groups with members of the patient organisation Arthritis Care (7 participants); telephone interviews with people on consultant waiting lists from two UK regional centres (15 participants); interviews with Chairs of UK ethics committees (6 individuals); postal surveys of members of the British Association of Surgeons of the Knee (382 surgeons) and members of the British Society of Orthopaedic Anaesthetists (398 anaesthetists); two centre pilot (49 patients assessed).
There was widespread acceptance that evaluation of arthroscopic lavage had to be conducted with a placebo control if scientific rigour was not to be compromised. The choice of placebo surgical procedure (three small incisions) proved easier than the method of anaesthesia (general anaesthesia). General anaesthesia, while an excellent mimic, was more intrusive and raised concerns among some stakeholders and caused extensive discussion with local decision-makers when seeking formal approval for the pilot.
Patients were willing to participate in a pilot with a placebo arm; although some patients when allocated to surgery became apprehensive about the possibility of receiving placebo, and withdrew. Placebo surgery was undertaken successfully.
Our study illustrated the opposing and often strongly held opinions about surgical placebos, the ethical issues underpinning this controversy, and the challenges that exist even when ethics committee approval has been granted. It showed that a placebo-controlled trial could be conducted in principle, albeit with difficulty. It also highlighted that not only does a placebo-controlled trial in surgery have to be ethically and scientifically acceptable but that it also must be a feasible course of action. The place of placebo-controlled surgical trials more generally is likely to be limited and require specific circumstances to be met. Suggested criteria are presented.
Trial registration number
The trial was assigned ISRCTN02328576 through in June 2006. The first patient was randomised to the pilot in July 2007.
PMCID: PMC3052178  PMID: 21338481
2.  Should surgeons take a break after an intraoperative death? Attitude survey and outcome evaluation 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;328(7436):379.
Objectives To investigate attitudes of cardiac surgeons and anaesthetists towards working immediately after an intraoperative death and to establish whether an intraoperative death affects the outcome of subsequent surgery.
Design Questionnaire on attitudes to working after an intraoperative death and matched cohort study.
Setting UK adult cardiac surgery centres and regional cardiothoracic surgical centre.
Participants 371 consultant cardiac surgeons and anaesthetists in the United Kingdom were asked to complete a questionnaire, and seven surgeons from one centre who continued to operate after intraoperative death.
Main outcome measures Outcome for 233 patients operated on by a surgeon who had experienced an intraoperative death within the preceding 48 hours compared with outcome of 932 matched controls. Hospital mortality and length of stay as a surrogate for hospital morbidity.
Results The questionnaire response rate was 76%. Around a quarter of surgeons and anaesthetists thought they should stop work after an intraoperative death and most wanted guidelines on this subject. Overall, there was no increased mortality in patients operated on in the 48 hours after an intraoperative death. However, mortality was higher if the preceding intraoperative death was in an emergency or high risk case. Survivors operated on within 48 hours after an intraoperative death had longer stay in intensive care (odds ratio 1.64, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 2.52, P = 0.02) and longer stay in hospital (relative change 1.15, 1.03 to 1.24, P = 0.02).
Conclusion Mortality is not increased in operations performed in the immediate aftermath of an intraoperative death, but survivors have longer stays in intensive care and on the hospital ward.
PMCID: PMC341385  PMID: 14734519
3.  Practice of preoperative assessment by anaesthetists. 
The practice of preoperative assessment in 24 departments of anaesthesia in Great Britain and Ireland was surveyed. Most departments had no rigid policies governing assessment, and many served several hospitals. There was little evidence that admission procedures of patients scheduled for surgery or the organisation of operating lists took account of the problems encountered by anaesthetists undertaking preoperative assessment. From the participating departments 415 anaesthetists completed a questionnaire of their individual practice. Most (57%) visited at least 80% of their patients preoperatively, but 22% saw less than 50% of patients. The detection of potential anaesthetic problems and the establishment of rapport with patients were highly rated reasons for conducting such visits. Failure to visit was often related to organisational defects within the hospital service, and anaesthetists saw little prospect of improving these defects. The demands created by the needs of preoperative assessment on the one hand, and the need for a rapid turnover of surgical patients and financial stringency on the other, conflict, and this conflict is not easily reconciled.
PMCID: PMC1416463  PMID: 3926208
4.  What do trainees think about advanced trauma life support (ATLS)? 
Advanced trauma life support (ATLS) has become a desirable or even essential part of training for many surgeons and anaesthetists, but aspects of the ATLS course have attracted criticism. In the absence of published data on the views of trainees, this study sought their opinions in a structured questionnaire, which was completed by trainees in accident and emergency (A & E) (26), anaesthetic (82), general surgical (26), orthopaedic (42) and other (5) posts in different hospitals (response rate 66%). Of the trainees, 78% had done an ATLS course and, of these, 83% considered ATLS a 'major advantage' or 'essential' for practising their proposed specialty--100% for A & E, 94% for orthopaedics, 92% for general surgery, and 75% for anaesthetics. ATLS was considered a major curriculum vitae (CV) advantage by 94%, 85%, 50%, and 45%, respectively. Over 90% had positive attitudes towards ATLS, and 74% selected 'genuine improvement of management of trauma patients' as the most important reason for doing the course: 93% thought ATLS saved lives. Of the respondents, 83% thought that all existing consultants dealing with trauma patients should have done the course, and 41% thought it offered major advantages to doctors not involved in trauma. Funding problems for ATLS courses had been experienced by 14% trainees. This survey has shown that most trainees view ATLS positively. They believe that it provides genuine practical benefit for patients, and very few regard ATLS primarily as a career advantage or mandate.
PMCID: PMC2503502  PMID: 10932661
5.  Obstetric Anaesthesia Services in the United Kingdom 
British Medical Journal  1971;1(5740):101-103.
In a survey of obstetric anaesthetic services in the United Kingdom questionnaires were sent to 398 hospital maternity units and 347 general-practitioner maternity units, of which 344 and 272 respectively were returned. Many hospitals were unable to provide an anaesthetist for obstetric surgery only, and few consultant anaesthetist sessions were allocated to obstetric surgery, particularly in regional hospitals in England and Wales. Constant supervision of junior anaesthetic staff with under 12 months' experience was lacking in several hospitals. Endotracheal intubation is widely used throughout the United Kingdom. Though regional analgesic techniques are used by most anaesthetists it is impossible to provide a 24-hour regional analgesic service in all but a few hospitals.
PMCID: PMC1795676  PMID: 5539159
6.  Survey of the use of rapid sequence induction in the accident and emergency department 
Objectives—To determine the current position regarding the use of rapid sequence induction (RSI) by accident and emergency (A&E) medical staff and the attitudes of consultants in A&E and anaesthetics towards this.
Methods—A questionnaire was designed that was distributed to consultant anaesthetists and A&E physicians in hospitals receiving over 50 000 new A&E patients per year.
Results—A total of 140 replies were received (a response rate of 72%). The breakdown of results is shown. There was wide difference of opinion between anaesthetists and A&E consultants as to who performs RSI at present in their A&E departments, however two thirds of anaesthetists thought A&E staff with appropriate training and support should attempt RSI either routinely or in certain circumstances.
Conclusions—A&E staff in several hospitals routinely undertake RSI and the majority of A&E consultants thought that RSI would be undertaken by A&E staff if an anaesthetist were unavailable. There is disagreement regarding the length of anaesthetic training required before A&E medical staff should undertake RSI.
PMCID: PMC1725352  PMID: 10718228
7.  Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy in Children with Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders: Consensus Statement of a UK Multidisciplinary Working Party 
During 2008, ENT-UK received a number of professional enquiries from colleagues about the management of children with upper airway obstruction and uncomplicated obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). These children with sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) are usually referred to paediatricians and ENT surgeons.
In some district general hospitals, (DGHs) where paediatric intensive care (PICU) facilities to ventilate children were not available, paediatrician and anaesthetist colleagues were expressing concern about children with a clinical diagnosis of OSA having routine tonsillectomy, with or without adenoidectomy.
As BAPO President, I was asked by the ENT-UK President, Professor Richard Ramsden, to investigate the issues and rapidly develop a working consensus statement to support safe but local treatment of these children.
The Royal Colleges of Anaesthetists and Paediatrics and Child Health and the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists nominated expert members from both secondary and tertiary care to contribute and develop a consensus statement based on the limited evidence base available.
Our terms of reference were to produce a statement that was brief, with a limited number of references, to inform decision-making at the present time.
With patient safety as the first priority, the working party wished to support practice that facilitated referral to a tertiary centre of those children who could be expected, on clinical assessment alone, potentially to require PICU facilities. In contrast, the majority of children who could be safely managed in a secondary care setting should be managed closer to home in a DGH.
BAPO, ENT-UK, APA, RCS-CSF and RCoA have endorsed the consensus statement; the RCPCH has no mechanism for endorsing consensus statements, but the RCPCH Clinical Effectiveness Committee reviewed the statement, concluding it was a ‘concise, accurate and helpful document’.
The consensus statement is an interim working tool, based on level-five evidence. It is intended as the starting point to catalyze further development towards a fully structured, evidence-based guideline; to this end, feedback and comment are welcomed. This and the constructive feedback from APA and RCPCH will be incorporated into a future guideline proposal.
PMCID: PMC2758429  PMID: 19622257
Consensus statement; Children; Sleep-related breathing disorders; Tonsillectomy; Adenoidectomy
8.  A prospective study of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia in the South West London Cancer Network. Interpretation of study results in light of NCAG/NCEPOD findings 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;104(3):407-412.
Chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia is a medical emergency complicating the treatment of many cancer patients. It is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, as well as impacting on healthcare resources.
A prospective study of all cases of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia in the South West London Cancer Network was conducted over a 4-month period. Factors including demographics, treatment history, management of febrile neutropenia and outcome were recorded.
Results and conclusi:
Our results reflect those of the recent National Chemotherapy Advisory Group (NCEPOD, 2008)/National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcomes and Death reports (NCAG, 2009) and highlight the need for network-wide clinical care pathways to improve outcomes in this area.
PMCID: PMC3049562  PMID: 21179036
neutropenic sepsis; chemotherapy; infection; febrile neutropenia
9.  Current practice in primary total hip replacement: results from the National Hip Replacement Outcome Project. 
As part of the National Study of Primary Hip Replacement Outcome, 402 consultant orthopaedic surgeons from three regions were contacted by postal questionnaire which covered all aspects of total hip replacement (THR). There was a 70% response rate of which 71 did not perform hip surgery, a further 33 refused to take part, leaving 181 valid responses. Preoperative assessment clinics were used by 89% of surgeons, but anaesthetists and rehabilitation services were rarely involved at this stage. Of respondents, 99% used routine thromboprophylaxis, with 79% using a combination of mechanical and chemical methods. Of surgeons, 84% routinely used stockings, whereas 95.5% used chemical prophylaxis, 63% employed low molecular weight heparins. Theatre facilities were shared with other surgical specialties by 6% of surgeons and 18% regularly used body exhaust suits for THR. Antibiotic loaded cement was used by 69% of surgeons, the majority (65%) used a single brand of normal viscosity cement with 9% using reduced viscosity formulations. Modern cementing techniques were commonly used at least in part, 87% used a cement gun and 94% a cement restrictor for femoral cementing. On the acetabulum, 47% pressurised the cement. In all, 36 different femoral stems and 35 acetabular cups were in routine use, but the majority of surgeons (55%) used Charnley type prostheses. Of the surgeons, 57% performed only cemented THR, while 3% exclusively used uncemented THR. Of consultants, 21% followed up their patients to 5 years, the majority discharge patients within the first year. Of concern is a large proportion of surgeons using low molecular weight heparins despite a lack of evidence with regard to reducing fatal pulmonary embolism, and also the small number of surgeons using prostheses of unproven value. Third generation cementing techniques have yet to be fully adopted. The introduction of a national hip register could help to resolve some of these issues.
PMCID: PMC2503116  PMID: 9849338
10.  The ATLS course, a survey of 228 ATLS providers 
Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses teach a system for the initial assessment and management of trauma patients that aims to optimise initial care and reduce mortality and morbidity, and have been adopted worldwide. This questionnaire survey characterised those who took up this particular educational resource in Scotland during a four year period after its introduction, and analysed how they felt it had affected their clinical competence. Irrespective of their previous level of training and experience, nearly all surgeons and anaesthetists who took this course felt that it had improved their clinical skills and other professional attributes. The significance of these results is discussed in the context of postgraduate surgical and anaesthetic training in Scotland.
PMCID: PMC1725500  PMID: 11310464
11.  Attitudes to blood transfusion post arthroplasty surgery in the United Kingdom: A national survey 
International Orthopaedics  2007;32(3):325-329.
Five hundred orthopaedic surgeons and 336 anaesthetists were surveyed to assess current UK attitudes towards transfusion practice following arthroplasty surgery. Seventy-two percent of surgeons and 73% of anaesthetists responded to the survey. In an uncomplicated patient following total hip arthroplasty, 53.2% of surgeons and 63.1% of anaesthetists would transfuse at or below a haemoglobin (Hb) level of 8 g/dL. Surgeons tended to be more aggressive in their attitudes, with a mean transfusion threshold of 8.3 g/dL compared to 7.9 g/dL for anaesthetists (p < 0.01), and with 97% of surgeons transfusing two or more units compared to 78% of anaesthetists (p < 0.01). This threshold Hb increased if the patient was symptomatic (surgeons 9.3 g/dL, anaesthetists 8.8 g/dL, p < 0.05) or was known to have pre-existing ischaemic heart disease (surgeons 9.0 g/dL, anaesthetists 9.2 g/dL, p <  0.05). A wide variability in attitudes and practices is demonstrated, and the development and adoption of consensus guidelines needs to be encouraged if efforts to reduce the use of blood products are to succeed.
PMCID: PMC2323427  PMID: 17396259
12.  Manipulation under sedation in the accident and emergency department. 
The Royal College of Surgeons of England recently published guidelines for sedation by non-anaesthetists. The report emphasizes sedation for endoscopy and dental surgery, but the recommendations are equally relevant to accident and emergency (A&E) medicine. Current sedation practice for orthopaedic manipulations was determined by questionnaire in 58 A&E and orthopaedic junior staff in one teaching and one district general hospital. Of the 50 doctors who completed the questionnaire, 14 (28%) respondents made an inadequate pre-sedation assessment. Over half were unable to name the antagonist to benzodiazepine drugs. Eleven (22%) doctors administered supplemental oxygen to all their patients, 12 (24%) did not consider it necessary. Pulse oximetry was used for patient monitoring by one respondent (2%). None of the junior staff had received any formal training in sedation techniques. Thirty-one (62%) had attended a resuscitation refresher course within the last year. These results emphasize the need for training in sedation techniques for A&E and orthopaedic juniors and the importance of appropriate supervision.
PMCID: PMC1342429  PMID: 7804587
13.  An emergency daytime theatre list: utilisation and impact on clinical practice. 
A prospective study of all weekday emergency surgery performed in a district general hospital over an 18-month period was undertaken to assess the impact of a fully staffed, daytime operating theatre for emergency surgery on night-time operating and on consultant supervision of trainees. In the 12 months following the introduction of the emergency list there was a 46% reduction in the number of general surgical operations performed after midnight compared with the preceding 6 months. Despite the increase in daytime operating the degree of consultant participation was unchanged, with the majority of emergency procedures being performed by unsupervised junior surgeons and anaesthetists. Although the emergency theatre was available to all specialties and was used for 'scheduled' and occasional 'elective' cases when there were no emergencies, only 37% of total theatre time was used. Without a change in consultant workload and practice which permits their increased involvement in emergency surgery, a dedicated daytime emergency theatre may be a costly measure which fails to fulfil all CEPOD recommendations.
PMCID: PMC2498019  PMID: 8285550
14.  The nurse's role in immediate postoperative care. 
British Medical Journal  1977;1(6070):1119-1202.
From the time that a patient leaves the care of the anaesthetist after an operation until he wakes in the ward his physiological state should be continuously and expertly supervised. Postoperative nurses are provided only when the operating theatre has a recovery room. A survey among consultants and nurses in one region showed that many surgical units did not have recovery rooms and that inexperienced ward nurses were often sent to collect patients. The survey showed that most nurses were competent to care for unconscious patients so long as an emergency did not arise. In many hospitals the facilities for the safe nursing of postoperative patients were totally inadequate. The very least that is needed is good communications with the anaesthetist, adequate lighting, and a source of oxygen and suction. Because of the shortage of nurses likely to have to care for postanaesthetic patients early on and to train them accordingly. Nevertheless, recovery nurses, whose sole responsibility is to care for a patient until be has recovered from anaesthesia, should be appointed for all busy surgical units.
PMCID: PMC1606846  PMID: 67869
15.  Description of local adaptation of national guidelines and of active feedback for rationalising preoperative screening in patients at low risk from anaesthetics in a French university hospital 
OBJECTIVE: To describe the effect of local adaptation of national guidelines combined with active feedback and organisational analysis on the ordering of preoperative investigations for patients at low risk from anaesthetics. DESIGN: Assessment of preoperative tests ordered over one month, before and after local adaptation of guidelines and feedback of results, combined with an organisational analysis. SETTING: Motivated anaesthetists in 15 surgical wards of Bordeaux University Hospital, Region Aquitain, France. SUBJECTS: 42 anaesthetists, 60 surgeons, and their teams. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number and type of preoperative tests ordered in June 1993 and 1994, and the estimated savings. RESULTS: Of 536 patients at low risk from anaesthetics studied in 1993 before the intervention 80% had at least one preoperative test. Most (70%) tests were ordered by anaesthetists. Twice the number of preoperative tests were ordered than recommended by national guidelines. Organisational analysis indicated lack of organised consultations and communication within teams. Changes implemented included scheduling of anaesthetic consultations; regular formal multidisciplinary meetings for all staff; preoperative ordering decision charts. Of 516 low risk patients studied in 1994 after the intervention only 48% had one or more preoperative tests ordered (p < 0.05). Estimated mean (SD) saving for one year if changes were applied to all patients at low risk from anaesthesia in the hospital 3.04 (1.23) mFF. CONCLUSIONS: A sharp decrease in tests ordered in low risk patients was found. The likely cause was the package of changes that included local adaptation of national guidelines, feedback, and organisational change.
PMCID: PMC2483578  PMID: 10178152
16.  A survey of surgical team members’ perceptions of near misses and attitudes towards Time Out protocols 
BMC Surgery  2013;13:46.
Medical errors are inherently of concern in modern health care. Although surgical errors as incorrect surgery (e.g., wrong patient, wrong site, or wrong procedure) are infrequent, they are devastating events to experience. To gain insight about incidents that could lead to incorrect surgery, we surveyed how surgical team members perceive near misses and their attitudes towards the use of Time Out protocols in the operating room. We hypothesised that perceptions of near-miss experiences and attitudes towards Time Out protocols vary widely among surgical team members.
This cross-sectional study (N = 427) included surgeons, anaesthetists, nurse anaesthetists, and operating room nurses. The questionnaire consisted of 14 items, 11 of which had dichotomous responses (0 = no; 1 = yes) and 3 of which had responses on an ordinal scale (never = 0; sometimes = 1; often = 2; always = 3). Items reflected team members’ experience of near misses or mistakes; their strategies for verifying the correct patient, site, and procedure; questions about whether they believed that these mistakes could be avoided using the Time Out protocol; and how they would accept the implementation of the protocol in the operating room.
In the operating room, 38% of respondents had experienced uncertainty of patient identity, 81% had experienced uncertainty of the surgical site or side, and 60% had prepared for the wrong procedure. Sixty-three per cent agreed that verifying the correct patient, site, and procedure should be a team responsibility. Thus, only nurse anaesthetists routinely performed identity checks prior to surgery (P ≤ 0.001). Of the surgical team members, 91% supported implementation of a Time Out protocol in their operating rooms.
The majority of our surgical personnel experienced near misses with regard to correct patient identity, surgical site, or procedure. Routines for ensuring the correct patient, site, and surgical procedure must involve all surgical team members. We find that the near-miss experiences are a wake-up call for systematic risk reducing efforts and the use of checklists in surgery.
PMCID: PMC3851944  PMID: 24106792
Surgery; Operating room; Near misses; Medical errors; Checklist
17.  Job satisfaction and stress levels among anaesthesiologists of south India 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2011;55(5):513-517.
Stress being high among practicing anaesthesiologists has effects on the quality of life. Methods to mitigate the stress have to be ensured to achieve job satisfaction.
A survey was conducted through a questionnaire to know the various aspects of job satisfaction and job stress. The results of the data obtained were analyzed.
An anaesthetists work area may vary from a small private hospital to a large tertiary centre.Depending on the number of anaesthetists in a particular hospital, the working hours and on call duties would be distributed. Overworked anaesthetists are prone to burnout due to sleep deprivation. This could lead to fatigue related error. Lesser the number of anaesthetists would mean less support from colleagues in the event of complications. Having a good rapport with surgical colleagues also helps to prevent stress.Anaesthesiologists should have adequate monitors to avoid error in judgement. Chronic stress has serious health hazards. Keeping updated with latest developments in our field helps to improve the quality of care provided. Anaesthetists should also receive the recognition and remuneration due to them.
To improve the quality of care provided to a patient,anaesthesiologists must cope with job stress. An anaesthetist must enjoy the work rather than be burdened by it.
PMCID: PMC3237154  PMID: 22174471
Anaesthesiologists; burnout; job satisfaction; quality of life; stress
18.  How much day surgery? Delphic predictions. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1988;297(6658):1249-1252.
A list was compiled of 83 of the commonest operations, which according to published reports may be performed on day patients but which in our district were usually performed on inpatients. The results of a national Delphi study among anaesthetists and general surgeons who were known to be in favour of day surgery produced estimates of the probable rates of day surgery for each of those operations under ideal conditions. Comparison of these figures with those from a Delphi study carried out in one district and with figures for day surgery carried out in that district and with waiting list figures enabled two health districts to focus their efforts to increase day surgery. The figures from the national Delphi study could be applied in other districts if the following are taken into account: Hospital Activity Analysis data must be validated; though there was consensus among the national Delphi consultants, personal clinical opinions varied; the case load may grow as waiting lists decrease.
PMCID: PMC1834699  PMID: 3145072
19.  The delayed arrival: from Davy (1800) to Morton (1846). 
Dr Adams was previously consultant anaesthetist to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, with a special interest in ophthalmic and neuroanaesthesia, and Associate Lecturer in Cambridge University. She was Dean of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1985, now the Royal College of Anaesthetists, of which she is currently Honorary Archivist/Curator. She was Hunterian Professor in the Royal College of Surgeons in 1993, and is a past president of the History of Anaesthesia Society. Within the RSM she was president of the Section of Anaesthetics in 1985-1986 and of the Section of the History of Medicine in 1994-1995, having served as Honorary Secretary of each. She is now an Honorary Treasurer of the Society.
PMCID: PMC1295670  PMID: 8683511
20.  Discrepant perceptions of communication, teamwork and situation awareness among surgical team members 
To assess surgical team members’ differences in perception of non-technical skills.
Questionnaire design.
Operating theatres (OTs) at one university hospital, three teaching hospitals and one general hospital in the Netherlands.
Sixty-six surgeons, 97 OT nurses, 18 anaesthetists and 40 nurse anaesthetists.
All surgical team members, of five hospitals, were asked to complete a questionnaire and state their opinion on the current state of communication, teamwork and situation awareness at the OT.
Ratings for ‘communication’ were significantly different, particularly between surgeons and all other team members (P ≤ 0.001). The ratings for ‘teamwork’ differed significantly between all team members (P ≤ 0.005). Within ‘situation awareness’ significant differences were mainly observed for ‘gathering information’ between surgeons and other team members (P < 0.001). Finally, 72–90% of anaesthetists, OT nurses and nurse anaesthetists rated routine team briefings and debriefings as inadequate.
This study shows discrepancies on many aspects in perception between surgeons and other surgical team members concerning communication, teamwork and situation awareness. Future research needs to ascertain whether these discrepancies are linked to greater risk of adverse events or to process as well as systems failures. Establishing this link would support implementation and use of complex team interventions that intervene at multiple levels of the healthcare system.
PMCID: PMC3055275  PMID: 21242160
patient safety; quality of care; teamwork; communication; surgery
21.  The NHS patient information lottery: it is whom you see rather than what you need. 
OBJECTIVE: To examine the current scale of provision of patient information materials by consultant surgeons in UK NHS and private sector hospitals. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of the responses of 12,555 surgical patients to surveys evaluating surgical services provided by specific consultants. SETTING: 7 NHS Trusts and one private sector hospital distributed throughout the UK. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Provision of information materials by hospital, surgeon, and case-mix. Comparison of this service with patients' evaluations of surgeons' verbal communication in the outpatient clinic. RESULTS: Great variation exists between surgeons of the same specialty, and between hospital surgical directorates as a whole in the routine provision of supportive information materials to patients undergoing surgery. This variation cannot be explained solely by clinical need. Patients treated in private hospitals were less likely to receive information materials compared to patients treated within the NHS. CONCLUSIONS: Provision of printed information materials to patients by clinicians appears to be arbitrary. With the prospect of national performance frameworks in the foreseeable future, it is reasonable to assume that not only will the content of patient information be determined by quality standards but, in addition, its availability will be decided by clinical need rather than the clinician's preferences or interests.
PMCID: PMC2503436  PMID: 10858690
22.  Anaesthesia for appendicectomy in childhood: a survey of practice in Northern Ireland. 
The Ulster Medical Journal  1997;66(1):34-37.
A postal questionnaire was sent to all members of the Northern Ireland Society of Anaesthetists to determine current practice in anaesthesia for children with acute appendicitis. Respondents were asked to describe their usual practice in such cases. They were also asked about the occurrence of complications due to the use of suxamethonium, and for their views on the use of rocuronium in such cases. Few major differences in anaesthetic technique were demonstrated. 74% of consultants and 84% of trainees always perform a rapid sequence induction for appendicectomy. However 15% of consultants do not feel that this is necessary. Only 6% of consultants and 6% of trainees would normally use rocuronium, with the majority still preferring suxamethonium. Only 28% of consultants and 20% of trainees see rocuronium as a possible alternative to suxamethonium in these cases, although others expressed increasing concern over the use of suxamethonium in children. There was wide variation in the type of intra-operative and post-operative analgesia prescribed, with less than one third of consultants and trainees using combinations of opioids, local anaesthetics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
PMCID: PMC2448718  PMID: 9185488
23.  Cleaning and Sterilisation of Anaesthetic Equipment 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2013;57(5):541-550.
The main purpose of this review article is to bring up what has been known (practiced) about decontamination, disinfection, and sterilisation of anaesthetic equipment. It also discusses how this evidence-based information on infection prevention and control impacts care of patient in routine anaesthesia practice. This review underscores the role played by us, anaesthetists in formulating guidelines, implementing the same, monitoring the outcome and training post-graduate trainees and coworkers in this regard. The article re-emphasises that certain guidelines when followed strictly will go a long way in reducing transmission of hospital acquired infection between patient and anaesthetist or between patients. Anaesthetists do not restrict their work to operating room but are involved in disaster management, interventional radiological procedures and in trauma care. They should ensure that the patients are cared for in clean and safe environment so as to reduce healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) simultaneously taking preventive measures against the various health hazards associated with clinical practice. They should ensure that the coworkers too adopt all the preventive measures while delivering their duties. For this review, we conducted literature searches in Medline (PubMed) and also searched for relevant abstracts and full texts of related articles that we came across. There is much to be learned from the western world where, health care organisations now have legal responsibility to implement changes in accordance with the newer technology to reduce health care associated infection. There is a need to develop evidence-based infection prevention and control programs and set national guidelines for disinfection and sterilisation of anaesthesia equipment which all the institutions should comply with.
PMCID: PMC3821272  PMID: 24249888
Anaesthetic equipment; decontamination; disinfection; sterilisation
24.  Specialist outreach clinics in general practice: what do they offer? 
BACKGROUND: Specialist outreach clinics in general practice, in which hospital-based specialists hold outpatient clinics in general practitioners' (GPs) surgeries, are one example of a shift in services from secondary to primary care. AIM: To describe specialist outreach clinics held in fundholding general practices in two specialties from the perspective of patients, GPs, and consultants, and to estimate the comparative costs of these outreach clinics and equivalent hospital outpatient clinics. METHOD: Data were collected from single outreach sessions in fundholding practices and single outpatient clinics held by three dermatologists and three orthopaedic surgeons. Patients attending the outreach and outpatient clinics, GPs from practices in which the outreach clinics were held, and the consultants all completed questionnaires. Managers in general practice and hospital finance departments supplied data for the estimation of costs. RESULTS: Initial patient questionnaires were completed by 83 (86%) outreach patients and 81 (75%) outpatients. The specialist outreach clinics sampled provided few opportunities for increased interaction between specialists and GPs. Specialists were concerned about the travelling time resulting from their involvement in outreach clinics. Waiting times for first appointments were shorter in some outreach clinics than in outpatient clinics. However, patients were less concerned about the location of their consultation with the specialist than they were about the interpersonal aspects of the consultation. There was some evidence of a difference in casemix between the dermatology patients seen at outreach and those seen at outpatient clinics, which confounded the comparison of total costs associated with the two types of clinic. However, when treatment and overhead costs were excluded, the marginal cost per patient was greater in outreach clinics than in hospital clinics for both specialties studied. CONCLUSION: The study suggests that a cautious approach should be taken to further development of outreach clinics in the two specialties studied because the benefits of outreach clinics to patients, GPs and consultants may be modest, and their higher cost means that they are unlikely to be cost-effective.
PMCID: PMC1313104  PMID: 9406489
25.  Problems encountered when administering general anaesthetics in accident and emergency departments. 
Archives of Emergency Medicine  1988;5(3):151-155.
Junior anaesthetists in 75 English hospitals were surveyed for their views on whether administering general anaesthetics in A&E departments provoked more anxiety than in the main theatre, and if so what factors contributed to this. Of these anaesthetists, 71% were more apprehensive working in A&E departments than in main theatre; 91% felt that they were adequately experienced but despite this there was a marked decline in apprehension with increasing experience. Sixty eight per cent of the anaesthetists thought that their assistance was inadequate and only 28% had an Operating Department Assistant (ODA). Forty eight per cent said that the equipment was inadequate in either standard or maintenance and 40% said that some of the patients were unsuitable for day case anaesthesia. The authors recommend that anaesthetists performing general anaesthetics in A&E departments should be adequately experienced using equipment provided and maintained by the anaesthetic department and assisted by adequately trained nurses or ODAs.
PMCID: PMC1285518  PMID: 3178973

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