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New ‘networked’ approach to emergency surgery proposed by RCSI

By Reporter - 03rd Feb 2023

IHCA President

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has proposed a new networked approach for emergency surgery.

The Surgery for Ireland report, which will be launched at the College’s annual Charter Day meeting, sets out a series of recommendations including that new emergency surgery networks should include injury units, emergency surgery units and emergency surgical centres, with each network supported by access to an elective hospital.

The RCSI report proposes that acute surgical assessment units should be available in every hospital receiving surgical emergencies to streamline surgical assessment and treatment and to allow a reduction in the number of hospitals providing out-of-hours emergency general surgery.

 “Access to high quality emergency surgical care is lifesaving and must be available to everyone,” said RCSI Vice-President Professor Deborah McNamara.

“Emergency surgery is safest when performed during normal working hours by fully- trained staff and where sufficient volumes of surgery are performed to maintain the expertise of the multidisciplinary emergency surgery team. A networked system of emergency surgical care enables most emergency surgical care to be delivered as near as possible to the patient’s home while ensuring equitable access to complex care when required,” added Professor McNamara.

The new RCSI report also recommends that geographically-based surgery networks are developed with agreed pathways to allow “safe and efficient escalation of care” in situations where a patient’s needs exceed the services available locally and to support repatriation when patients needs can be met closer to home.

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