Dr Brendan McGrath has been appointed as National Tracheostomy Lead Clinician by NHS England in recognition of his work improving patient safety. He currently leads a successful Health Foundation funded project which aims to reduce the frequency, nature and severity of harm associated with tracheostomies. Dr McGrath, a consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at University Hospital of South Manchester, will take up this new position as a National Clinical Advisor.

There are an estimated 15,000 tracheostomies performed each year in England and Wales. A recent report, by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), documented wide variations in the quality and safety of tracheostomy care in the NHS.

The Improving multidisciplinary tracheostomy care: implementing the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative quality improvement project offers solutions to many of the challenges outlined in the NCEPOD report. Already it has delivered some impressive results, with significant reductions in hospital length of stay, a shortening in the time that tracheostomies are required for and improvements in the quality and safety of care. These results reflect the impact of reorganising and co-ordinating care, ensuring bedside staff are trained, prepared and equipped to safely manage tracheostomy patients.

Dr Brendan McGrath, comments: 'It is vital that teams work collaboratively to improve tracheostomy care. The Improving multidisciplinary tracheostomy care project shares resources and new practices throughout the Manchester area greatly benefitting its patients. I am excited by the chance my new role as National Tracheostomy Lead Clinician gives me to help overcome the wider scale challenge of ensuring greater shared learning and collaboration on tracheostomy care.'

Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said: 'Well done to Brendan on his new appointment. He has already made a huge contribution to improving the quality of care for tracheostomy patients, and this appointment will help him encourage more change for the better.'

Media contact

Mike Findlay
Senior Media Manager
T: 020 7257 8047 E: mike.findlay@health.org.uk 

Notes for editors

Implementing the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative quality improvement project has been awarded through Shine 2014, a Health Foundation programme that aims to develop innovations that will improve health care quality.

Patients with tracheostomies often have complex healthcare needs, crossing traditional specialty and working boundaries, affecting patients, their families and carers in both hospital and community environments.

As a result, tracheostomy care can be fragmented, yet with truly integrated care it is possible to radically improve the quality, safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of care offered to this vulnerable group.