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Hospital halves cardiac arrests as NHS uses smarter technology to save lives and improve care

Lives are being saved through the NHS’s use of smarter technology, including the introduction of a ‘game changing’ cancer treatment which reprogrammes patients’ own immune cells, NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens will announce today.

In the NHS’s 70th year, the NHS is using smarter technology to halve the number of cardiac arrests, treat Sepsis patients faster, freeing up thousands of hours of nurses time and is preparing to introduce a cutting edge cancer treatment.

Speaking at the Association of British Pharmaceuticals Industry annual conference, Stevens will reveal how an e-observation system at a hospital in Liverpool has seen a 46% reduction in cardiac while their Sepsis screening tool has helped speed up treatment. And 20,000 hours of nurses’ times has been freed up at Imperial College NHS Trust, in London.

And he will also announce that Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T), a ‘game-changer’ to attack cancers – even where other methods have failed – could be approved for use this year.

Stevens said: “The NHS has a proud history of delivering pioneering treatments.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary, the NHS is working harder than ever to save lives and improve care by embracing cutting edge technology like CAR-T therapy and spreading innovation across the whole health service.

“However we can’t do this alone and we need the help of the manufacturers to ensure we can get these treatments to patients as quickly and cost-effectively as possible”

“Preparations are underway to make CAR-T, one of the most innovative treatments that has ever been offered on the NHS available to patients, but manufacturers need to set fair and affordable prices so treatments can be made available to all who need them.”

There are a host of local and national initiatives that are helping drive up efficiency and improve safety for patients in the NHS which include moving GP referrals to hospitals online, electronic monitoring of patients at the bedside and one single electronic record system in a hospital. And trusts which have developed their own schemes are producing guides for other hospitals so that they can be adopted in other parts of the country.

NHS England’s Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) sites include:

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

Since introducing bedside e-observations has seen a 46% reduction in cardiac arrests, 50 fewer patients each year, through early identification and intervention of deteriorating patients.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

The Trust is using an e-observation system that connects directly to the Trust’s electronic patient record system (EPR).

The system can reduce the time required to input observations by up to 50%, improve patient safety and reduce error. Once the system is completely rolled out, by early May, Imperial expects to release 20,000 hours of nurses’ time per year which they can instead devote to direct patient care.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Since introducing its electronic patient record in 2014 the Trust has reduced the use of paper patient records by 99% across both its hospitals, is saving around 2,500 inpatient bed days per year by reducing adverse medication reactions with integrated e-prescribing and allergy-related prescribing alerts, and has halved the time it takes to prepare discharge medications for patients.

A new alerts feature within the EPR is now ensuring patients with sepsis are identified and treated even faster with alerts that guide the actions and tests needed to help clinicians quickly diagnose and treat this life-threatening condition.

This has led to a 70% increase in the proportion of patients diagnosed with sepsis receiving antibiotics within the recommended one hour national timeframe when presenting at A&E, and a 50% increase across adult inpatient areas at both the Trust’s hospitals.

As part of the programme NHS England has tasked each GDE site to produce a guide to how they implemented the initiatives so that other hospitals can quickly and easily learn from their achievements.

To ensure the health service is as prepared as possible, NHS England has been working with clinical experts and the drug companies involved to plan for the service requirements and potential costs and we will soon begin the process to find suitable treatment providers.

Alongside game-changing new treatments nationally the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), mandatory for all NHS organisations from October 2018, will reduce patient waiting times, increase patient choice and enable GPs to quickly get a consultant’s opinion on a patient’s condition.

The new system immediately removes waiting time and stops referrals falling through the net.

So far 45 NHS Trusts have made the switch, with over 50,000 referrals being made digitally every day, and more trusts are due to make the switch in the coming months with the support of NHS Digital.