Seven principles of best practice for preoperative assessment outlined in new guidance

Guidance outlining the seven principles for best practice in preoperative assessment (POA) – and advice for achieving them – is now available to read and download.

Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) has developed the preoperative assessment services guidance to support non-medical pre-assessment leads, clinicians and managers who want to embed best practice in their preoperative assessment processes.

The guide is written by GIRFT’s POA advisor Emma McCone (also POA lead at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), with input from the POA National Clinical non-medical network group, and is endorsed by NHS England’s National Clinical Director for critical and perioperative care Dr Ramani Moonesinghe, and GIRFT’s clinical leads for perioperative medicine, Dr Mike Swart and Dr Chris Snowden.

As well as succinctly outlining the elements required for best practice in staffing, protocols, process, pathways, it also features a checklist for teams to assess their current service levels and progress.

Among the seven principles of best practice in POA it lists are guidance that patients on a waiting list should only be given a ‘to come in’ (TCI) date and added to an operating list when they have completed their pre-assessment, and that a list of pre-assessed and ready patients should be kept, who can be added to operating lists at short notice to fill any gaps and optimise capacity.

Preoperative assessment (POA) teams are a critical part of elective recovery in the NHS, helping to improve theatre utilisation and thereby reducing waiting lists.

The new GIRFT guidance is written for adult services, but the principles may also be applied to children and young people’s (CYP) services.

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