NAP5 Anaesthetic Activity Survey

As part of NAP5 an Anaesthetic Activity Survey was carried between the 9th -16th September 2013 during which each centre carried out the survey on two consecutive days.

The survey was published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

The study demonstrates high levels of consultant-delivered care throughout the week and exemplary standards of safety.

The study is the most detailed and complete survey ever performed of a nation's anaesthetic activity. With a 98% return rate and with data from all UK NHS hospitals it captures detailed information on anaesthesia for 20,400 cases, and provides a wealth of information about current anaesthetic processes and techniques.

The survey, which was completed by anaesthetists in every NHS hospital in the UK, demonstrates that anaesthetists are responsible for the care of more than 3.5 million patients per year. This means that in a given year 1 in 20 of the population will require an anaesthetic.
The study reveals that three quarters of patients undergo general anaesthesia whilst the other quarter have their procedure either awake or sedated. Almost a quarter of procedures are emergencies.

The study demonstrates that anaesthesia is a consultant-led service with senior doctors present for 87% of all anaesthetics and for three quarters of those administered "out of hours". In those patients requiring immediate surgery, the study identified areas where delivery of anaesthesia by senior staff could be further improved.

The 15,460 survey returns after general anaesthesia recorded just nine deaths during the time the patient was under the care of the anaesthetist - a mortality rate of 0.06% or 1 in 1700. Most of the patients who died were elderly, infirm and undergoing emergency surgery.