THE first dedicated 'block' anaesthetic room in Scotland has helped improve recovery for 1000 patients in Glasgow.

The regional anaesthetic 'block room' at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), which was set up in 2020 during the first wave of Covid-19, has also reduced the average length of hospital stay for patients.

On average, the length of stay has been reduced by at least 25% (five hours) with patients regularly discharged in as little as two hours following surgery.

The amount of surgical time available per day has also been increased by two hours to help clinicians tackle waiting times with surgeons able to see more patients.

The service provides patients with specialist regional anaesthesia which blocks nerves to provide effective pain relief ahead of surgery while also allowing them to remain awake, therefore avoiding risks and side effects associated with general anaesthetic.

In addition, patients are 17 times less likely to have significant pain after surgery and are less likely to need strong pain killers, such as morphine.

Iain Thomson, consultant anaesthetist and lead for the QEUH block room, said: "Block rooms have been used in the USA for a number of years, so it’s fantastic to have been able to bring this model to Scotland and see how much it has benefitted QEUH patients.

"They don’t need to be put under, they take less time to recover and they don’t experience nausea or vomiting, and other potentially nasty side-effects of general anaesthesia.

"As we recover from the pandemic, the more efficiently we can treat patients, the more patients we can treat.

"The block room is a key asset here as it helps free up bed space, and also means our surgical teams can fit in more procedures as we take up less theatre time for anaesthesia."

Wesley Stuart, chief of medicine at the QEUH, added: "We’re delighted to see the 1000th patient benefit from the block room.

"As well as improving patient experience and increasing surgical capacity, it has also proven to be a valuable teaching resource.

"We’re able to provide expert regional anaesthesia training to our staff, which is laying solid foundations for the future of our block room at the QEUH as well as providing the opportunity to share techniques with other centres and Health Boards across the country."

Regional anaesthesia can be used across a range of surgical procedures and has been found to be effective in providing pain relief to major trauma patients.