Saturday, December 09, 2006

‘Saving’ hospitals costs lives

05 December 2006

Campaigns to save services currently provided in district general hospitals could lead to more than 1,000 unnecessary deaths each year, according to new analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), published later this month.

New techniques to treat heart attacks are significantly safer, according to research published in The Lancet. ippr’s analysis calculates that if heart attack care was reconfigured to enable universal access to these new treatments, around 500 extra lives could be saved every year. There could also be around 1,000 fewer repeat heart attacks and 250 fewer strokes.

At the moment, most of the 61,000 emergency heart attack patients treated each year by the NHS are taken to their local hospital. But last year, only 1,600 received the latest treatment in a specialist hospital unit. Research shows that patients will often be safer if they travel further for specialist treatment, rather than being treated at their local hospital.

The analysis also looks at people who have suffered severe injury and concludes that they are more likely to survive if they are treated in specialist centres rather than local hospitals. International evidence from countries with regionalised trauma systems shows that treating people in specialist centres is safer, and that taking people with severe injuries past their local hospital direct to a specialist centre means they are more likely to survive. The Royal College of Surgeons and British Orthopaedic Association estimate that universal access to specialist trauma centres could save around 770 extra lives every year.

But the research shows that these life saving treatments are more complex and can only be provided at a smaller number of specialist hospitals, with the right equipment and expert staff. Specialist units also need to see enough patients to maintain staff skills. So even if cash resources were unlimited, there would be patient safety reasons for centralising these services.


Let us se this analysis that suggests that 1,000 lives COULD be at risk, it doesn't say ARE or WILL just COULD or should it be MAYBE or POSSIBLY, sounds like an Astrology Star Sign forecast to me, with no firm basis