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How can we make sure people are fit for surgery, improve safety in the operating theatre, and ensure better recovery after major operations?

Our research aims to improve surgical outcomes by looking at all stages of the surgical journey. We are using the following approaches:

  • Giving people a better chance before surgery: We need to identify high-risk patients and optimise their health status before surgery. This includes getting them fitter and treating pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma. All major surgery patients go to the Pre-Operative Assessment Clinic.
  • Using new technology to give us accurate information: There are already measures in place to ensure that major surgery is safe, but the figures show that there is room for improvement. We need sensitive technology to monitor, evaluate and alert clinicians appropriately, particularly to try and minimise injuries caused by medical intervention. See the SEND project for example. 
  • Training clinical teams to prevent human error: Human factors research has shown that training can reduce complications and death resulting from surgery. Training clinical teams to understand the mechanisms of human error and how to prevent it is key to the effective delivery of the new approaches and technologies outlined above. See OxSTaR for example.