Spinal Surgery

The GIRFT national report on spinal surgery was published in January 2019.

Click here to read the report online

Click here to read our announcement

Click here to watch a short video about the report (click to view full screen)

You can contact the project manager for this workstream at [email protected]

Clinical lead: Mike Hutton

Consultant spine surgeon and national lead for spinal services optimisation and recovery for BestMSKHealth

Mike is a consultant spine surgeon and the national lead for spinal services optimisation and recovery for the NHS England & NHS Improvement BestMSKHealth improvement programme.

He worked at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust from 2007 to 2021, undertaking complex spine procedures in all areas of spinal surgery, including paediatric and adult spine deformity.

He currently works at Exeter Medical and Ramsay New Hall Hospital.

Mike held an executive position with the British Association of Spine Surgeons from 2009 to 2019 and led the British Spine Registry from 2012 to 2019. He was an expert advisor to the MHRA from 2012 to 2021 and has developed a National Emergency Referral Tool, which links to the British Spinal Registry.

He is currently the co-chair of the Spinal Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel and Beyond Compliance programme, and chair of the national Suspected Cauda Equina Pathway improvement programme.

Five minutes with… Mike Hutton

Q: How did you first become interested in spinal surgery? I was formerly a professional rugby player and had planned to go into sports medicine/surgery, so much so that I undertook a sports surgery fellowship in New Zealand during the British Lions tour of 2005. During my training programme as an orthopaedic registrar I worked with some inspiring spine surgeons at Ipswich Hospital and in Cambridge, who taught me how to assess and make sense of patients with spinal problems, and that with the right indication patients could have a good outcome from spine surgery. They flattered me by saying they thought I would make a good spine surgeon, which made me change my career path.

Q: What excites you most about your specialty? Helping people with an emergency but reversible catastrophic change in their function. For example, operating on someone who is paralysed by spinal infection.

Q: What has been the highlight of your career to date? On a sporting front, playing for the Barbarians. On a career front, publishing my GIRFT national report on spinal services after 127 visits – a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it.

Q: Who or what inspires you? Anyone who faces adversity in their life and fights through it to their benefit.

Q: How do you relax? Watching the rugby or watching a good movie. And thinking about the next challenge I’m going to take on.