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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Checklists for surgical safety

Just caught a piece on Radio 4's You and Yours consumer programme about using checklists in the NHS, with a speaker from Patient Safety First, which turns out to be an NHS body. The list is undertaken before surgery, by the team doing that surgery. I am not clear why the piece made it onto the radio today rather than any other day - maybe there was a space today, rather than anything being launched today. The Patient Safety First site links to a case study of checklists being used at Barts and the London, and a web search turns up an adaptation for the NHS in England and Wales of the WHO checklist, which has been around for a little while. Atul Gawande has also just written a book about using such lists in the USA, which I am waiting to see.

Anyway, today is as good a day as any to mention it - it is an important topic of interest to all those who work in operating theatres. The list being described on the radio asks all the perioperative staff to introduce themselves to each other, as well as asking people to check that they have all necessary X rays and so on, and checking that everyone knows the site of the surgery. The WHO list does these things.

Here are some links:

Case report on Patient Safety First site;
WHO checklist adapted for the NHS in England and Wales;
WHO site including English language checklist and manual;
Atul Gawande's book at University of Leicester Library

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