Trauma Theatre Utilisation
Philippa Bennett, Antonella Ardolino, Robin Elliot
Basingstoke North Hampshire Hospital
For over 20 years NHS Trusts in England have had the percentage utilisation of their elective lists monitored as a key performance indicator. There has been renewed focus on this in the wake of the Covid pandemic, and the subsequent effect on waiting lists. Currently, a target of 85% utilisation is strived for across all elective lists. No similar target exists for trauma, despite this accounting for 30% of cases within the orthopaedic department. Our department aimed to establish a system to monitor trauma theatre utilisation and identify areas for improvement.
Within HHFT a weekly ‘Trauma Communications Cell’ (TCC) was established to allow collaboration between wards, theatres, anaesthetists and surgeons. Along with overall utilisation, specific indicators were monitored including delays to start times and reasons for delays. Theatre managers across the region were contacted for their average trauma theatre utilisation over the preceding six months.
Over the first six month period of the TCC, trauma theatre utilisation was 79% (62-85% range). Theatre start times improved by an average of 11 minutes. Of the six Trusts contacted for their trauma theatre utilisation statistics in Wessex, three replied. Of these one did not know their trauma theatre utilisation. Of the other two, one had utilisation of 70%, and the other 66%.
Monitoring trauma theatre utilisation is an effective way to improve workload. Establishing a weekly forum for problems to be identified improves team cohesion and helps to improve efficiency.