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Vascular surgery reform could save lives and money

How many lives and how much money could vascular surgery reform save?

‘Fully-fledged’ vascular networks across England could save lives, save up to £16m a year, speed up treatment and improve efficiency, according to a report.

The getting it right first time (GIRFT) programme says the networks would reduce the chances of suffering strokes, transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs), aortic aneurysm ruptures and arterial blockages.

Some 70 NHS trusts conduct vascular surgery. Many of them work together within a local network but they do not conform to a standard model and there is variation in size, staffing and treatment.

GIRFT says a connected vascular surgery ‘hub and spoke’ network of specialist units treating every vascular surgery case as ‘urgent’ could save 100 more lives. They could reduce risks associated with blocked arteries such as sudden death, strokes, restricted movement and amputations, it says.

The report makes 17 recommendations to improve efficiency and patient experience, and reduce unwarranted variation between hospitals. Its author Professor Mike Horrocks said: ‘By ensuring all units are operating within a hub and spoke network model, defined locally according to agreed national principles, we will be able to deliver the timely decision-making capability, diagnostics, and treatment vital to improving patient outcomes.’

Further information

GIRFT: GIRFT vascular surgery national report published
Wellards: NHS could save millions of pounds if general surgery procedures were improved, says report
Wellards: NHS efficiency