A STATE-OF-THE-ART computer system invented by a Warrington medic is gaining acclaim across the world.

Graham Copeland, assistant medical director and general surgeon at Warrington Hospital, devised the medical equation he calls POSSUM which stands for Physiological and Operative Severity Score for the Measurement of Mortality and Morbidity.

Twenty four British hospitals and 15 others in America, Spain, Turkey, India and Pakistan have now adopted the scheme which has been in place in Warrington for around seven years.

By predicting the likely outcome of a surgical procedure on a particular patient, the equation has a number of uses. It ensures surgeons are performing to the highest possible standards and can predict the amount of time a patient is likely to spend in hospital.

Mr Copeland said: "Some procedures carry more risks than others and it is important to have a system which accounts for this.

"Systems which look only at death rates can frighten members of the public and make them think that a surgeon is particularly bad when, in fact, he has simply been operating on patients who are at a higher risk.

"It is an excellent system for ensuring that standards are high and that they remain so."

As a trainee in neurosurgery during the early 1980s, Mr Copeland devised mathematical equations still used by the Department of Transport today.

These are used to decide the likelihood of a patient suffering epilepsy following brain surgery and whether or not the person should be allowed to hold a driving licence.

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