NELA eNewsletter - 10th Edition June 2014

National Emergency Laparotomy Audit

Patient Data Collection

With June now upon us we are entering the sixth month of the patient data collection period of the National Emergency Laparotomy Audit. While the NELA Project Team are very pleased with the progress of the patient audit and the rate at which cases are being entered and completed on the system, there are still many older cases that remain incomplete.

At the moment on the NELA web tool there are 290 cases from January, 540 cases from February and 940 cases from March that are still awaiting completion. That's over 1700 procedures for which information has been entered onto the system, however we are unable to use it as we do not have complete data and the cases are not locked.

At the end of June we will be performing our initial review of the patient data gathered by exporting all locked cases from the first six months. It's crucial that the initial sample of data includes the maximum amount of cases so that we are able to get the clearest possible picture of what initial findings can be drawn and what areas of patient care the audit needs to focus on going forward.

We are therefore strongly encouraging all sites to go back over the next few weeks and review incomplete cases that were entered onto the system within the first three months of the patient audit. It's most likely that much of the missing patient data (such as histology, discharge date) is now available and the cases can be completed and locked.

In several weeks' time we will be releasing our second Hospital Progress Report table listing each site's individual progress in the data collection process so far. The list will break down the number of each site's incomplete cases by month, showing which hospitals have the most amount of unlocked cases from when the audit began.


Over the past few weeks we have received requests from a number of NELA Local Hospital Leads to be sent a set of slides that can be used to present locally on the audit and its objectives. The NELA Clinical Lead has completed a slide set which has been sent to all leads and is also available under the Documents section of the NELA website, here. The presentation focuses on the key findings of the NELA Organisational Report, published just last month, and how the report strongly emphasises the need for patient data to be collected and analysed.

Presentations on NELA can be given by Local Administrators during hospital audit meetings or simply by any participating member of staff hoping to raise awareness of the audit amongst colleagues. Every slide is accompanied with a set of notes explaining what information is being displayed and we encourage you to tailor the presentation or remove any slides you consider to not be particularly relevant to your hospital.

Certificate of Participation

Last week the NELA Project Team sent out Certificates of Participation to all hospital leads. The certificates can be edited so that leads are able to issue them on an individual basis to colleagues they feel have devoted time and effort to ensuring that the data collection and completion process run successfully.

If you would like to receive a certificate indicating your involvement in NELA please contact your hospital's NELA Local Administrator directly. They will be able to assess your contribution towards the audit and issue you with your Certificate of Participation accordingly.

Patient Audit Web Tool - Export Function & Key

As more and more cases are being completed and locked many of you have gotten in touch with us to enquire as to how data can be exported so that it may be analysed on a local level. The NELA web tool does have an export function which can be found under the 'Clinical' tab at the top of the page. The export function allows you to transfer patient information from all locked cases onto an Excel spreadsheet from which reports focusing on specific quality of care indicators can be written. If you find that you do not have access to the export screen when logged into the web tool please contact your hospital's Local Administrator or us directly requesting that your web tool login be given reporter privileges.

Earlier this week we also made available an export key, showing you which codes on the exported spreadsheet correspond to which answers on the Proforma questionnaire. The export key can also be found under the Documents section of website, as well as under the 'Support' tab on the web tool.

Additional Useful Tools on NELA Website

  • Top Tips - List compiled of some of the most useful and effective advice that was sent into us by a number of the top performing NELA sites
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Constantly updated FAQs reflect the most common and recent queries we receive from hospital staff and web tool users
  • Help Box Text - Provides additional assistance for filling in each of the data collection questions and can also be found on the web tool by clicking on the 'H' button to the right of every question
  • Proforma - A PDF copy of the latest Proforma, the online data collection questionnaire, that can be printed and filled out with patient information in real time, making it then easier to transfer all the information onto the online web tool
  • Updated Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria
  • NELA Poster & Leaflet - To publicise the audit amongst staff and patients in the hospital
  • OPCS Labels - For procedure items in the NELA dataset
  • Process Outcome Measures
  • Organisational Audit Link to Standards

Organisational Audit

To download a copy of the full NELA Organisational Report as well as the Executive Summary please click here.

Sign up to receive the NELA newsletter

The NELA project team will be regularly publishing a newsletter informing those interested and/or participating in the audit on the latest developments.

If you would like to receive the newsletter for regular updates please sign up to the mailing list here.

NELA Twitter

The National Emergency Laparotomy Audit has launched its own twitter account. This will provide updates, news and links to important information on the NELA website. You can follow us @NELANews

Key dates

  • Complete: Organisational audit
  • Jan 2014: 1st year of data collection for patient audit commenced
  • May 2014: Organisational Audit Report published
  • Dec 2014: 2nd year of data collection for patient audit commences
  • July 2015: 2nd Report Published (1st patient audit)

Contact info:

If you have any questions or would like to contact the project team email -