An observational national study of anaesthetic workload and seniority across the working week and weekend in the UK in 2016: the 6th National Audit Project (NAP6) Activity Survey

H. Kemp, S. Marinho, T. M. Cook*, L. Farmer, M. Bellamy, W. Egner, S. Farooque, K. Ferguson, K. Floss, T. Garcez, S. Karanam, J. Hitchman, K. L. Kong, N. McGuire, S. Nasser, D. N. Lucas, M. Thomas, H. Torevell, A. Warner, N. J.N. Harper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: UK national anaesthetic activity was studied in 2013 but weekend working was not examined. Understanding changes since 2013 in workload and manpower distribution, including weekends, would be of value in workforce planning. Methods: We performed an observational survey of NHS hospitals' anaesthetic practice in October 2016 as part of the 6th National Audit Project of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (NAP6). All cases cared for by an anaesthetist during the study period were included. Patient characteristics and details of anaesthetic conduct were collected by local anaesthetists. Results: Responses were received from 342/356 (96%) hospitals. In total, 15 942 cases were reported, equating to an annual anaesthetic workload of ≈3.13 million cases. Approximately 95% (9888/10 452) of elective and 72% (3184/4392) of emergency work was performed on weekdays and 89% (14 145/15 942) of activity was led by senior (consultant or career grade) anaesthetists and 1.1% (180/15942) by those with <2 yr anaesthetic experience. During weekends case urgency increased, the proportion of healthy patients reduced and case mix changed. Cases led by senior anaesthetists fell to 80% (947/1177) on Saturday and 66% (342/791) on Sunday. Senior involvement in obstetric anaesthetic activity was 69% (628/911) during the week and 45% (182/402) at weekends, compared with 93% (791/847) in emergency orthopaedic procedures during the week and 89% (285/321) at weekends. Since 2013, the proportion of obese patients, elective weekend working, and depth of anaesthesia monitoring has increased [12% (1464/12 213) vs 2.8%], but neuromuscular monitoring has not [37% (2032/5532) vs 38% of paralysed cases]. Conclusions: Senior clinicians deliver most UK anaesthesia care, including at weekends. Our findings are important for any planned workforce reorganisation to rationalise 7-day working.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Volume121
Issue number1
Early online date21 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • anaesthesia
  • audit
  • monitoring
  • technique
  • workforce

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