World class results - our clinical effectiveness and outcomes work

Emergency Department entrance

Getting the best outcomes for our patients is one of the three key aspects of high quality care, sitting alongside safety and providing a good patient experience. I want to use this new monthly blog to tell our patients, healthcare professionals, our members and the wider public about the great work we do – the work we describe as ‘clinical effectiveness and outcomes’.

For this first month the focus is on major trauma, which means multiple injuries that can be caused by a crash or a bad fall. We are a Trust that is geared up to care for major trauma patients – with specialist doctors, nurses, therapists and others ready to provide expert care. One of the things we do to check whether we are providing the best care we can is to submit our results to a national audit group. This is known as the Trauma Audit Research Network – TARN.

We send anonymised information about each of our major trauma patients once they have been discharged. Details of how severe their injuries are, what tests and care were given and how they are progressing are submitted. The TARN team process the information and compare how well our patients did compared with what would usually be expected for patients with that level of injury. Other illnesses the patient had are also taken into account.

Even with the excellent level of care provided in the NHS sadly not every patient with severe injuries survives. The feedback from TARN tells us whether Southampton patients are more likely to survive than in the average hospital.

For the period 2010-11 our figures show we have about 10 extra patients survive for every 300 we treat. This is encouraging but we are not complacent and still want to improve. Our clinical teams get detailed information back from TARN, which they use to see if any lessons can be learned. We want the very best for our patients and the TARN system is one of the ways that we strive to achieve this.