This Patient Safety Alert alerts healthcare organisations to the release of a World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist for use in any operating theatre environment. It is a tool for the relevant clinical teams to improve the safety of surgery by reducing deaths and complications.
In June 2008, WHO launched a second Global Patient Safety Challenge, ‘Safe Surgery Saves Lives’, to reduce the number of surgical deaths across the world. The checklist is part of this initiative.
The National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) in collaboration with an expert reference group, has adapted the checklist for use in England and Wales. It contains the core content but can be adapted locally or for specific specialties through usual clinical governance procedures.
In England and Wales, 129,419 incidents relating to surgical specialties were reported to the NRLS in 2007 with a range of degrees of harm, including 271 deaths.
Organisations are required to:
- Ensure an executive and a clinical lead are identified in order to implement the surgical safety checklist within the organisation.
- Ensure the checklist is completed for every patient undergoing a surgical procedure (including local anaesthesia).
- Ensure that the use of the checklist is entered in the clinical notes or electronic record by a registered member of the team.
Order an A1 poster of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist from Publications.