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Better or bigger:  How should we organise emergency care

Better or bigger:  How should we organise emergency care

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Better or bigger:  How should we organise emergency care

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  1. Better or bigger:  How should we organise emergency care Jon Nicholl School of Health and Related Research University of Sheffield England

  2. The emergency and urgent care system The key characteristic of emergency and urgent care is the heterogeneity of the patients • Nature – injuries, complex medical problems, mental health, etc • Severity – from feeling a bit “iffy” to bleeding to death from a ruptured aneurysm

  3. Specialist centres Major trauma Neurosurgery units Cardiac units Minor injury units Generalist centres A&E Walk-in-centres Polyclinics Out-of-hours centres Pharmacies Helplines NHS Direct 111 Pre-hospital services Ambulance services Community responders Helicopters, etc Other urgent services, eg Dental & mental Maternity Elderly falls Social services And the heterogeneity of services

  4. Giving rise to the key challenge for the emergency and urgent care system “Getting the right patient to the right place at the right time” How do we best organise emergency and urgent care to meet this challenge?

  5. Emergencies 1. the right place There is evidence that some groups of emergency patients benefit from care in centres with specialist skills and facilities

  6. OUTCOMES OF SEVERE HEAD INJURY FROM THE TARN DATABASE (Lecky, Lancet 2005). Neurosurgical Non-neurosurgical centres centres Number of patients 4916 3505 Deaths 1624 (35%) 1406 (61%) Case-mix adjusted odds of death for patients treated in non-neurological centres = 2.15 (95% CI: 1.77-2.60)

  7. Ratio of observeddeaths to expected for patients with multiple injuries, by volume of major trauma Rank r=-0.36 Freeman JHSRP 2006,101- Volume of major trauma per year

  8. Heart attack survival

  9. Emergency care groups known to benefit from specialist care • Trauma • Head injuries • Major polytrauma • Stroke • Heart attack

  10. 2. The right timegetting patients to specialist services • If services are centralised ontofewer specialist sites then emergency patients will have further to travel • But emergencies are time critical What’s the impact of longer distances to hospital in emergencies?

  11. Increase in heart attack survival following angioplasty or thrombolysis vs. delay from symptom onset to arrival at A&E

  12. The evidence

  13. Risk of dying in serious emergencies and distance to hospital

  14. !!! ‘ “But won’t I die on the way?” many people ask. No, you won’t……………long ambulance journeys do not lead to more deaths’. Professor Sir George Alberti, National Director for Emergency Access in his report on ‘Emergency access – Clinical case for change’. December 2006

  15. Can we centralise without increasing the risk? (Or what could Alberti possibly have meant?)

  16. Solutions 1. Go faster – use helicopters or drive faster

  17. Solutions 1. Go faster – use helicopters or drive faster • Not generally, in small countries (eguk, ireland, denmark) helicopters maytake longer to get a patient into hospital and often don’t fly at night • And driving faster leads to more accidents

  18. Solutions 2. Bring the hospital to the patient. Better skills on ambulances

  19. Solutions 2. Bring the hospital to the patient. Better skills on ambulances • Could moderate but not solve the problem unless care in the back of an ambulance is as good as in A&E

  20. Solutions 3. Accept the increased journey risk. • If care is much better at the specialist distant hospitals it could more than compensate for the increased journey risk.

  21. Increase in heart attack survival following angioplasty or thrombolysis vs. delay from symptom onset to arrival at A&E

  22. Increase in survival following angioplasty or thrombolysis vs. delay from symptom onset to arrival at A&E

  23. Solutions 3. Accept the increased journey risk. • If care is much better at the specialist distant hospitals it could more than compensate for the increased journey risk. • But this can’t be true for patients who don’t need specialist care, eg respiratory patients

  24. Variation in mortality with distance to hospital by clinical category

  25. Solutions 4. Transfer all patients to specialist care if the benefits of specialist care outweigh the risks of longer journeys Leave non-specialist local hospitals open to manage all the cases that don’t benefit from specialist care (or are too far away)

  26. Solutions 4. Transfer all patients to specialist care if the benefits of specialist care outweigh the risks of longer journeys Leave non-specialist local hospitals open to manage all the cases that don’t benefit from specialist care (or are too far away) But can we select the right patients for each type of service?

  27. 3. The right patient

  28. Emergency triage • Emergency groups which are known to benefit from specialist care: • Trauma • Head injuries • Major polytrauma • Stroke • Heart attack

  29. Head injuries • Accurate diagnosis of problems needing neuro unit care is not possible without facilities, eg CT +/- observation. • This is not possible pre-hospital of course • And mistakes are well documented

  30. Major polytrauma • One systematic review of 80 papers found that pre-hospital carers could not identify 50% of patients needing (ie with capacity to benefit from) major trauma centre care

  31. Stroke • 8 studies have been reviewed • They consistently show that paramedics using stroke recognition tools can only identify 75% of cases • This is usually judged by stroke researchers as ‘inadequate’

  32. Heart attack • 12 lead ECG by paramedics accurately diagnoses ST elevated MI which benefits from specialist care (angioplasty)

  33. Heart attack • But so does NSTEMI and these make up 80% of all cases that could benefit • And this can’t be diagnosed in the back of an ambulance at the moment

  34. Conclusions – Emergency care • Don’t close local emergency departments – otherwise you force patients who don’t need specialist care to travel further and can cause harm

  35. Conclusions – Emergency care • Don’t close local emergency departments – otherwise you force patients who don’t need specialist care to travel further and can cause harm • Transport directly to specialist centres - those patients who you can identify for whom there is evidence that the increased risk of getting to hospital is outweighed by the reduced risk after you get there

  36. Conclusions – Emergency care • Don’t close local emergency departments – otherwise you force patients who don’t need specialist care to travel further and can cause harm • Transport directly to specialist centres - those patients who you can identify for whom there is evidence that the increased risk of getting to hospital is outweighed by the reduced risk after you get there • Focus on improving prehospital diagnostics and triage, not on prehospital care

  37. Conclusions – Emergency care • Don’t close local emergency departments – otherwise you force patients who don’t need specialist care to travel further and can cause harm • Transport directly to specialist centres - those patients who you can identify for whom there is evidence that the increased risk of getting to hospital is outweighed by the reduced risk after you get there • Focus on improving prehospital diagnostics and triage, not on prehospital care In short, don’t reconfigure services – organise systems

  38. Lastly, don’t forget

  39. System Design

  40. Benefits from research and evidence-based planning!Thank you