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Meet our Preoperative Care Team!

19 October 2022

In the summer of 2019, we introduced a preoperative care service at Sheffield Children’s. The aim for the service is that every patient having general anaesthetic for a procedure or investigation will need to have a health screening questionnaire completed. This logs all the medical, physical and emotional needs of that patient.

Five members of the Preoperative Care Team

Within the Preoperative Care Team, we have Clinical Support Workers, Preoperative Care Coordinators, Preoperative Care Practitioners (Nurses and Operating Department Practitioners), a Preoperative Care Lead Nurse and Consultant Anaesthetists.

The team were just starting to roll out their full preoperative service when the COVID pandemic started, which meant they had to change the work they were doing very quickly to help manage preoperative COVID testing. Led by their clinical lead at the time, Dr Nadia Ladak, the team created new, safe pathways for all patients coming for surgery to carry out COVID screening. This helped to keep patients, families, and colleagues as safe as possible, while still enabling vital surgery to take place. Throughout the pandemic, the team carried out over 20,000 COVID screenings!

The work of the team enabled Sheffield Children’s to restart elective surgery in June 2020. While the majority of their workload during this time was COVID screening, the team were still able to carry out full preoperative screening for over 9,000 of our most at-risk patients.

Since the team started preoperative screening, they’ve reduced the number of patients having their surgery cancelled on the day it was planned. One of the reasons a patient’s surgery may be cancelled on the day is due to them being deemed unfit for their anaesthetic by theThree members of the Preoperative Care Teamanaesthetist. The percentage of these cancellations has reduced from 1.3% in 2018-19 to 0% in 2021-22.

During the pandemic, two Consultant Anaesthetists within the team have also developed two new pathways to further support patients coming for surgery. Dr Zoë Burton has developed a new clinic to see severely obese patients and support them prior to surgery to reduce their risk. Dr Judith Short has developed a new clinic to support patients coming for surgery who have additional needs. This has significantly reduced stress on the day for patients, families and colleagues as they are all are better prepared and reasonable interventions have been put in place to support patients.

Now we are working differently after our 2020/21 pandemic response, the team are ready to relaunch the Preoperative Care Service. This has already been successfully introduced in General Paediatric Surgery, and they are now looking at rolling this out across other surgical, medical and diagnostic specialties in the next few months.

Thank you to the Preoperative Care Team for all your amazing work!

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