Surgery: Safety

Health written question – answered on 6th September 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Conservative, Harrogate and Knaresborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts have not implemented the surgical safety checklist recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

On 26 January 2009, the National Patient Safety Agency issued a patient safety alert to the national health service in relation to the World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist. This required the following actions:

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); and ensure that the use of the checklist is entered in the clinical notes or electronic record by a registered member of the team, for example, surgeon, anaesthetist, nurse, operating department practitioner.

Data held on the Central Alerting System (CAS), through which the patient safety alert was issued, shows that all NHS trusts listed on the CAS have received and made responses in relation to the patient safety alert that required implementation of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.

Analysis of this data shows that 301 trusts (77 per cent.) state they have completed implementing the alert and 91 trusts (23 per cent.) have stated that no action is required by them. Of the 147 of these trusts that are primary care trusts, 112 state they have completed implementing the alert and 35 state that no action is required by them in relation to the alert.

A response of 'Action not required' indicates that a trust considers that the actions required in a patient safety alert are not relevant to their organisation, whereas a response of 'Completed' signifies that a trust considers that it has carried out all the actions required in the alert that are applicable to them.

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