Half of UK hospitals lack the services to manage acute gastro-intestinal haemorrhage
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So finds an investigation of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) earlier this month.
Data was collected from hospitals in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands regarding patients admitted with gastro-intestinal (GI) bleeding. 227 hospitals were included in the investigation which included the analysis of the care of over 1000 patients.
A GI bleed can occur at any point throughout the GI tract and examples include bleeding from gastric or duodenal ulcers, cancerous tumours and as a result of the complications of liver disease. The results of an acute GI bleed can be frightening and devastating for the patient and can be fatal depending on the cause and extent of the bleed; urgent and skilled care provision in these cases is paramount.
The care of patients admitted with acute GI bleed was reviewed against National Guidelines and recommendations and it was found that the clinical care of 45% of those patients needed improvement. Problems with care provision included delay in the recognition of a GI bleed and lack of recommended service provision; including 24 hours endoscopy services and access to intra-operative endoscopy facilities.
I have personal experience of working on an acute GI hospital ward and have seen first-hand how time-critical the management of an acute GI can be. I very much hope that current services can improve in response to this report. As Bertie Leigh, Chair of the inquiry noted; "the problem of poor case [management] for the very many patients who suffer a GI bleed must be addressed if it is not to become the next NHS scandal".
You can access the report here.
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