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World Health Organisation Surgical Safety Checklist

In June 2008, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a second Global Patient Safety Challenge, 'Safe Surgery Saves Lives', to reduce the number of surgical deaths across the world. The Surgical Safety Checklist (also known as the WHO Checklist) has been developed for use in any operating theatre environment.   

It is a tool for clinical teams to improve the safety of surgery by reducing avoidable deaths and complications. 

The checklist is completed for every patient undergoing a surgical procedure, including local anaesthesia, and involves the whole team.  We have recently created a training video of a theatre team using the checklist in one of our theatre suites - this was sponsored by 'Above & Beyond'. This is can be viewed below. 

UH Bristol have been using the checklist since 2009 and the implementation and ongoing audit of its use comes under the remit of the Perioperative Patient Safety Workstream Team. Use of the checklist is reviewed monthly in each theatre suite and compliance with a locally determined standard of 98% completion is one of the patient safety indicators reviewed by the Trust Board each month.

The Perioperative Team are part of a wider group working to deliver the requirements of the South West Quality and Safety Improvement Programme. This is a five year programme (2009 - 2014) for all acute health Trusts in the South West of England. The aim is to demonstrate a reduction in mortality and adverse events by introduction of tested patient safety improvement initiatives. The WHO checklist is one such example.

If you have any questions please get in touch with the Patient Safety Team on 0117 342 3637.

Patient Safety First