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Poor Post-Op Care Causing Tens of Thousands to Die

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The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has issued a warning that poor post-operative care for many of the nation’s most vulnerable patients is causing thousands of needless deaths.

In the rush to meet targets, such as getting patients into surgery within 18 weeks, many are simply left on regular wards after their operation and not getting the specialist care necessary.  Their after care is being left to junior doctors instead of the specialised units where care is provided by experienced nurses and consultants.

This is leading to unacceptably high mortality rates for routine operations; rates that are four times higher than hospitals in the U.S., and far higher than any other country in the Western world.

Many of these deaths are caused by patients developing infections, such as blood poisoning, that junior doctors are not recognising at an early enough stage to treat.

The RCS has released a report that has detailed over 50 studies into post-operative care of so called ‘high risk’ patients.  These include the elderly and those who are suffering from other medical conditions such as cancer and cardiac problems.  All these factors make a patient more likely to suffer from post-operation complications.

The report stated that out of 170,000 high risk patients who underwent routine operations, such as abdominal surgery, around 100,000 suffered complications.  Current figures show that a massive 1 in 7 of these high risk patients (25,000) are dying post-operation.  A needless figure, and one that the RCS believes is partly responsible because of hospitals being obsessed with meeting targets.

The RCS has issued statements expressing their grave concern about this issue, saying that elderly and high risk patients are becoming seriously under prioritised by the NHS.

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