DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.685 ISSN:

928 The Golden Patient: A Concept to Improve Trauma Theatre Efficiency

C McGurk, L Brasnic, E Tong, E Gerrie, J Duff, J W Lim, T Gardner, M Mitchell, D Boddie
  • Surgery



Golden patient (GP) is a pre-selected first patient on the next day’s trauma theatre list, with suitable medical fitness and a clear surgical plan. This study aimed to evaluate whether the GP concept improved the start times of theatre lists and the operating efficiency of the Aberdeen trauma unit.


This prospective study compared theatre starting times before and following an intervention to improve consideration of the GP concept among both trauma and theatre staff. Data was collected from pre-planned trauma theatre lists on Bluespier software the evening before and the morning of the list. The comparative mean of operation start times between the groups was established and a two-sided t-test was performed to evaluate the significance between the groups.


Post-interventional analysis identified 32 GPs out of which 28 persisted as first patients on the lists. The remaining 4 patients were deferred either due to an overnight emergency that took priority or a change in medical status that required them to be moved down the list. The mean operation start time was 10:00 compared to 10:14 pre-intervention. Further, in the re-audit, the mean operation start time was reduced by 39 minutes (p<0.01) when the GP remained first on the list.


The concept of GP has improved the theatre start times which is further evident in the delay to the start of the list when the GP is not employed. Additional contributing factors that influence theatre efficiency and require further review include anaesthetic planning, patient transport and others.

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