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About the Audit: Background

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The National Emergency Laparotomy Audit (NELA) is part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP), overseen by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).

NCAPOP is a closely linked set of centrally-funded national clinical audit projects that collect data on compliance with evidence based standards, and provide local trusts with benchmarked reports on the compliance and performance. They also measure and report patient outcomes.

NELA was one of the top two (of eleven) national clinical audits prioritised for immediate funding, in response to HQIP's call for new national audit topic proposals in 2011. It was commissioned following evidence of a high incidence of death, and a wide variation in the provision of care and mortality, for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy in hospitals across England and Wales.

The aim of the audit is to enable the improvement of the quality of care for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy through the provision of high quality comparative data from all providers of emergency laparotomy.

The contract for the provision of the NELA was awarded to the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) in June 2012. The Clinical Effectiveness Unit of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre are our partners and will provide important methodological and technical input. NELA is on the list of national audits for inclusion in Trusts' Quality Accounts.

The NELA project officially began on the 1st December 2012. NELA aims to look at structure, process and outcome measures for the quality of care received by patients undergoing emergency laparotomy, and will comprise both Organisational and Patient Audits.