Realising the full potential of minimal access surgery

Slack, M. | 2018 |Royal College of Surgeons| Realising the full potential of minimal access surgery

“A key field of innovation is minimal access surgery (MAS). Patients across the UK currently get great care, but we have yet to achieve the full potential offered by minimal access surgery,” says Dr Slack. 


He outlines there is growing evidence that MAS can reduce complications, the length of time spent in hospital and accelerate a patient’s convalescence.  Despite this only 30-40% of surgical procedures are performed laparosopically. Slack underlines the urgency to deliver MAS to patients, particularly as technology ‘becomes more complex, integrated and consistently beneficial to surgical care.’

Minimal Access Surgery (MAS) offers significant benefits to patients, with lower surgical site infection rates, reduced pain and less blood loss, resulting in a shorter recovery time and quicker return to normal life. Yet despite these benefits, it has arguably failed to achieve its full potential, reaching fewer than half of the patient population.  Given the significant benefits MAS offers patients, this event will explore why after 30 years of use in surgical practice this remains the case, and whether this creates a dilemma for the profession?


CMR Surgical 

An expert panel will debate how the uptake of minimal access surgery  can be increased and examine the barriers and opportunities to adoption of the latest innovations in the NHS. The surgical event takes place at the Francis Crick Institute, London this evening (20 March 2018).

In the media:

The Telegraph  |  Million patients a year needlessly enduring major surgery as NHS hospitals are not adopting modern practices, research finds 

Using digital technologies: to improve the public’s health

This report from the Local Government Association includes case studies from across England to consider how digital technology has been used, as well as ten top tips to utilise digital technology to improve the public’s health.
This publication provides guidance for local authorities, highlighting  that digital public health is about so much more than apps and social media.  It provides examples throughout England wherein councils have been working with their partners – both public and private – to innovate and pilot new ways of working.

One example outlined in the report,  is a pilot in London where pharmacies used a handheld mobile device to test for irregular heartbeats which has reduced the time from testing to treatment from 12 weeks to under three.

The report can be downloaded here 

The full details are available from the Local Government Association  

Every nurse an eNurse

The Royal College of Nursing  (RCN), in partnership with NHS Digital,  and the Building a Digital Ready Workforce Programme,  is launching a UK-wide consultation to hear about the digital challenges faced by nursing staff.   The consultation seeks to learn more about  adapting to digital technologies, and the opportunities available to improve patient care.

rcn digital ready consultation
Image source: RCN.








The RCN will ask nurses across the country, working in different sectors:

  • What will the digital future of nursing look like?
  • What will help us to get the best out of the data and technology available?
  • What are the things that might stand in our way?
  • What are the great examples where things are working that we should share?

The results will support the RCN’s call for improved education, training and development on digital literacy.  The aim is that by 2020 “evey nurse will be an eNurse” – that is every nurse will be able to use technology and data to maximum effect for patients, carers and service users.

Further information on the Digital Ready consultation is available from the RCN’s website

Register now to join the conversation; the online workshop will run until 15 February 2018 link here. 



Cyber resilience in health and care

The Department of Health and Social Care has released an update on their work to strengthen cyber resilience across health and care


In July 2017, the department of Health published Your Data: Better Security, Better Choice, Better Care in which it formally accepted the National Data Guardian’s 10 Data Security Standards.

As part of this, an implementation plan on securing data and cyber security was published. This set out how the department plans to deliver key data and cyber security actions. All actions set out in that plan have either been delivered or are in progress. This document summarises these actions.

Full document: Securing cyber resilience in health and care: progress update

Artificial Intelligence in the NHS

This report illustrates the areas where artificial intelligence (AI) could help the NHS become more efficient and deliver better outcomes for patients. | Reform


The report from Reform suggests that AI has the potential to:

  • help address the health and wellbeing gap by predicting which individuals or groups of individuals are at risk of illness and allow the NHS to target treatment more effectively towards them
  • give all health professionals and patients access to cutting edge diagnostics and treatment tailored to individual need, helping to reduce the care and quality gap
  • help address the efficiency and funding gap by automating tasks, triaging patients to the most appropriate services and allowing them to self-care

The report makes 16 recommendations, and also highlights the main barriers to the implementation of this technology, suggesting some potential solutions.

Full report: Thinking on its own: AI in the NHS


NHS Digital consultations

  • National contract reporting specifications for commissioners – as part of developing information standards to support commissioning, CCGs are being asked to ensure the proposed reporting formats meet their needs.  Closing date for comments: 26 January 2018.
  • Aligning the publication days of official statistics – NHS Digital’s statistical publications are currently released on any working day of the week except Monday.  NHS Digital is deciding whether to rationalise the days on which it publishes official statistics or continue to publish as it does now.  Closing date for comments: 16 February 2018.