Ear, nose and throat surgery national report


The ear, nose and throat (ENT) national report from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme makes 23 recommendations to improve how ENT services can be delivered for patients through shorter stays, fewer admissions, fewer repeat visits and potentially shorter waiting times.

Ensuring ENT departments treat more people as a day case, rather than having an overnight stay in hospital, will improve patient experience and could help towards potential cost efficiencies of up to £30.8 million identified in the report overall.

What the report found

The GIRFT review visited 126 ENT units across England. The overall picture is positive but GIRFT found unwarranted variation in areas including day case rates, out-of-hours arrangements, the use of skills in ENT units and new to follow-up ratios.

The GIRFT ENT report identifies significant opportunities to improve patient care and outcomes, alongside the potential to release between £21.7 million and £30.8 million per year for the NHS, with an additional potential saving of £2.5 million in procurement. The 23 recommendations of the report, which are endorsed by ENT UK (the British Society of Otorhinolaryngology), should help make ENT units more resilient to pressures on beds, and help trusts free up beds for use by other specialities.

Key recommendations

  • increase the use of day surgery to enable patients to return home more quickly, including an 80% day case target for the treatment of children having their tonsils removed
  • reduce the number of on-the-day surgical cancellations to prevent patients attending hospital unnecessarily
  • greater use of specialist nurses and other professionals after ear surgery operations to help free up consultants

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