In this introduction to our cover feature, we look at why emergency services have attracted significant political and media interest and what the potential solutions are for improvement
Within 24 hours of the publication of Sir Bruce Keogh’s report into 14 NHS Trusts in England with persistently high mortality, the British Journal of Surgery released an early online article depicting wide variation in mortality rates following emergency general surgery in England, with mortality in the worst performing hospital twice that of the best performer.1 Faiz et al utilised the Hospital Episode Statistics database to scrutinise outcome among 367,796 high risk emergency surgical admissions between 2000 and 2009. Following adjustment for patient and hospital factors there was significant variability in death rates within 30 days of admission, with rates ranging from 9.2% to 18.2%.
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