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Surgical recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in English adult neurosurgical centres.

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Thompson, Daniel 
Williams, Adam 
Whitfield, Peter C 
Hutchinson, Peter 
Phillips, Nicholas 


OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic required a change in resource priority from Neurosurgical care in order to treat medically unwell patients suffering from the complications of COVID-19 infections. We demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on total bed days in 24 Neurosurgical centres in England offering adult Neurosurgery as well as the total spells (single inpatient episodes) for operative Neurosurgical patients between 2020 and 2022 when compared with 2019. METHODS: We used Capse Healthcare Knowledge System software iCompare in order to show the change in total spells for patients undergoing a primary or secondary Neurosurgical procedure as defined using the National Neurosurgical Audit Programme (NNAP) OPCS-4 coding framework between 2019 and 2022. RESULTS: The overall mortality rate of COVID-19 patients was 12.3% and the percentage of total bed days taken up by COVID-19 patients in hospitals at large was on average 7.7%. The total number of spells for all procedures over the 24 centres in 2022 was 39,019 compared with 45,742 in 2019. There was a cumulative deficit of 24,904 spells. The loss of spells was not equally distributed across regions and hospital Trusts. The average number of referral to treatment pathways completed within 18 weeks has declined from 76% to 57% over the study period and the referral to treatment clearance time has risen from 17 to 24 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: The mean elective cranial output in 2022 compared with 2019 is at 88% with spinal output lagging at 69%. If the rate of change year on year were to remain at current levels then we would reach pre-pandemic levels of output by 2026.



COVID-19, health services, neurosurgery

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Br J Neurosurg

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Informa UK Limited
Society of British Neurological Surgeons