Ear, nose and throat emergency system praised at Oxford hospitals' trust

Staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital have been praised for their work managing ear, nose and throat emergencies.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 11:45 am
The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

A national report by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme has highlighted the work of staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital’s GP Referral Unit (GPRU) in successfully managing ear, nose and throat (ENT) emergencies.

The GIRFT report, which recommends a range of measures to ensure the right patients are admitted to hospital, praised good practice at the John Radcliffe Hospital where staff at the GPRU see more than 450 urgent or emergency adult patients every month.

As well as easing pressure on A&E, the GPRU has improved the accuracy of its tests, meaning 75 per cent of ENT patients admitted go on to have a procedure, compared to a national average of 49 per cent.

Intravenous treatment for conditions such as tonsillitis and ear infections means admissions have fallen. With this reduction in admissions, the inpatient ward can now treat 25 cataract patients every day.

The trust is now looking to employ advanced nurse practitioners in the GPRU to provide even more care without the need to admit patients.

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at Oxford University Hospitals, said: “Through our GPRU more people with ENT problems can be seen in a short time allowing us to detect conditions at an early stage when it’s still possible to treat them at home.

"This has reduced significantly the number of admissions which in turn means we are able to use inpatient beds and theatre capacity for other patients at no extra costs.”

“This service also relieves the pressure on our Emergency Department.”

The GIRFT report on ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery is the ninth national report from the Getting It Right First Time programme and follows a review of 126 ENT departments across England.

GIRFT is a national programme created and led by consultant surgeon Professor Tim Briggs who ran a pilot programme in orthopaedic surgery which helped to save £30m in the first year and a further £20m in the second. By 2021 it is expected the GIRFT programme will have created opportunities to improve patient care nationwide and identified cost efficiencies of up to £1.4bn. Professor Briggs is GIRFT Chair and National Director of Clinical Improvement for the NHS.

The GIRFT programme works with frontline clinicians to help improve the quality of care within the NHS by identifying and reducing unwarranted variations in service and practice. It is a partnership between the NHS Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust (RNOH) and NHS England and NHS Improvement.