ECMO service recognised as ‘platinum’ centre of excellence

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust’s ECMO services have been highly praised at an international awards ceremony.  

The Extracorporeal Life Support Organsation (ELSO) awards for Excellence in Life Support presented Harefield Hospital with the silver award, while Royal Brompton Hospital’s ECMO programme received the prestigious platinum award. The platinum certification is the highest distinction given by ELSO, with Royal Brompton being the only commissioned centre in England to achieve it.

Presented in mid-April at the Euro ELSO conference in Barcelona, the award recognises care and outcomes, multi-disciplinary collaboration, improvement initiatives, and training and education.

ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) supports recovery after major life-saving surgery or life-threatening illness by oxygenating blood outside the body and returning it – effectively doing the work of a patient’s lungs, or both heart and lungs, until theirs can resume to normal functioning.

The Trust’s ECMO service, one of only five NHS-commissioned ECMO centres for adult severe acute respiratory failure (SARF) in England, also provides paediatric care – another service recognised as outstanding by ELSO.

A redesign of the service in 2016/17, supported by colleagues at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, increased capacity and encouraged greater multi-disciplinary collaboration across sites. Such a range of expertise and streamline planning helped to inform decision making which, ultimately, benefitted patients. This led to a 60 per cent increase in referrals within the first year alone, offering highly specialised life support techniques to more patients than ever before.

Having gone from strength to strength, the service has expanded even further to provide more cardiac ECMO for patients suffering cardiogenic shock (a condition where the heart is suddenly unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs).

Dr Stéphane Ledot, consultant in critical care and anaesthetics and Royal Brompton Hospital’s SARF (severe acute respiratory failure) and ECMO lead, who collected the award on behalf of the team, said: “It is fantastic news that our ECMO programme has been recognised with this excellence award. This is thanks to the hard work of the team over the last few years to improve and develop our services to deliver the best possible care for our patients.

“We are the only commissioned centre that has been granted this distinction in the country, making us all the prouder.”

Trust medical director, Dr Richard Grocott-Mason, said: “I am very proud of the ECMO team for achieving this status, which recognises their incredible focus on improving critical care and life support services for patients.”

Congratulations were also shared by the ELSO award committee, which commended the service in going above and beyond what is expected of its registered services.