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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 20 January 2017

Bath RUH surgical unit shortlisted for national awards

A pioneering emergency surgery ambulatory clinic at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation (RUH) Trust that cuts waiting times and hospital admissions has been nominated for three national health awards. The Emergency Surgical Ambulatory Care unit (ESAC) at the RUH was set up originally as a pilot in 2013 and has proved so effective that it has been adopted by other NHS Trusts across the country.

It allows patients with acute, general surgical problems, such as appendicitis or hernias, to be diagnosed and operated on in a day. Most go home that same day, meaning there is a significant reduction in the number of admissions where patients need a bed – around 120 a month. It's estimated that 6000 patients have been treated by the ESAC team since it began in May 2013.

Now the clinic has been nominated for three Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value In Healthcare Awards 2017, in the Improving The Value of Surgical Services, Acute Service Redesign, and Emergency, Urgent and Trauma Care categories.

Sarah Richards, Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Emergency Surgical Ambulatory Care said: "We're really pleased that the clinic's work has been recognised by these nominations. This is one of the many ways that the RUH is striving to work differently and more efficiently. We've shown that the service is safe and effective and helps reduce the time that inpatients wait for emergency surgery. It helps to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and allows us to concentrate resources on life-threatening emergencies."

ESAC was cited as an area of outstanding practice in the Trust's recent Care Quality Commission report. Patient satisfaction is high with most surveyed saying they'd be extremely likely or likely to recommend the service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment. Staff also run 'Showcase Days' for other Trusts to visit and learn.

The HSJ 2017 awards will be judged in March and presented at a ceremony in London on May 24.


  • Emergency Surgical Ambulatory Care (ESAC) at the Bath RUH was commissioned for patients suffering from urgent general surgical acute problems. It operates as a clinic five days a week and provides a more ad hoc service at the weekend.
  • A pilot that took place in 2013 identified that 71% of patients were seen by a designated emergency consultant, diagnosed and discharged on the same day with a planned operating date. Only 5% of patients seen required admission.
  • The consultant-delivered service reduces unnecessary hospital admissions and lengthy inpatient stays. It has released approximately 90 bed days per month.
  • Patient satisfaction is high with 99% reporting they would be extremely likely or likely to recommend the service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment.
  • There have been no adverse clinical incidents in patients being managed on an ambulant basis.

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