Vascular surgery report

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The vascular surgery report from the 'Getting It Right First Time' (GIRFT) programme sets out 17 recommendations to improve the way vascular surgery is delivered in the NHS in England.

The report was written by Professor Michael Horrocks and is primarily focused on the way vascular surgery in England is organised and delivered. Key aims of the recommendations are to make better use of surgical resources; enable a greater proportion of patients to receive urgent surgery sooner, and to reduce the length of stay and cut readmissions.  

It identifies opportunities that will save lives, deliver better patient outcomes, improve efficiency and reduce unwarranted variations between hospitals.  

What the report found

The GIRFT vascular report shows that many patients with potentially fatal conditions can wait far too long before they see a consultant vascular surgeon.  It also demonstrates great variation in provision of care across the country which does not need to be the case.  GIRFT recommendations include the reconfiguration of vascular services into networks with high volume regional central units, a model the Vascular Society has recommended for many years.  This would improve access to specialists, improve outcomes, and reduce costs.

The report’s 17 recommendations for vascular surgery include ensuring round-the-clock availability of early diagnostics and intervention critical to the successful treatment of vascular conditions. The core recommendation of the report is that all cases of vascular surgery should be treated as ‘urgent’, and to accelerate the implementation of the hub and spoke network model which has not yet been fully established across England’s NHS hospitals.

The recommendations fall under five themes:

  1. provision of vascular surgery
  2. care pathways
  3. surgical planning and shorter hospital stays
  4. data quality and performance measurement
  5. procurement

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