Skip to content

Commitment and evidence drive Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative

Greg Harris, Project Support Officer, reflects on the commitment of our Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative members, now recognised as a national improvement programme.

Half a year ago I became the Project Lead for the Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative (ELC). Conceived as a two-year quality improvement (QI) project between three Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs); the West of England, Wessex, and Kent Surrey & Sussex, it delivered a care bundle across 28 hospitals that reduced the length of hospital stays by 1.3 days, and crude mortality rates by 11%.

The project ended in 2017 but what impresses me is that our Clinical Leads have continued to meet in the West of England! One of the greatest challenges to QI projects is sustainability – how do you ensure that all that great work doesn’t disappear after the official project end date?

Hopefully you considered sustainability right from the outset of your project but, beyond its life cycle, committed individuals are key to championing the work within their trusts; to keep on top of achieving until it’s not a stretch target anymore but the standard.

It also helps if the work becomes a national programme…

Earlier this year, NHS England + Improvement asked all trusts across England to roll out the ELC care bundle in their hospitals.  This wouldn’t have been possible without the strong evidence collected from the original ELC project showing the significant improvement achieved. The evidence wouldn’t have been there without committed individuals.

Our Clinical Leads now meet on a quarterly basis, rotating the meetings across their hospitals. They continue to maintain the high standard of delivering the ELC care bundle but they are now looking at adding to this with new QI work – the Best Practice Tariff, Surgical Site Infections, Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients (EPOCH), Enhanced Recovery, and FLuid Optimisation in Emergency LAparotomy trial (FLOELA).

Individuals such as our Clinical Leads have the ambition for continuous improvement – a taste for it, in fact! – and I’m sure this positively rubs off on the staff they encounter on a daily basis.

This is where the West of England AHSN comes in. We facilitate, support, and offer our QI skills to those individuals with the ideas, and help them deliver evidence-based work – from junior to senior staff, to those within and those outside the NHS.

We support commitment.


Posted on September 12, 2019 by Greg Harris, Project Support Officer, Patient Safety Collaborative, West of England AHSN

> Back to index


Subscribe to our blog posts via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.