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The goal of the Surgical Safety Checklist] is to reduce the number of patient deaths and complications resulting from surgical procedures

NEWS RELEASE: STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 22.00 14th JANUARY 2009

Supporting the WHO Safe Surgical Checklist
The Patient Safety First Campaign can help your Trust put the Checklist into practice

As the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) issues an Alert to encourage implementation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Safe Surgery Checklist, the patient safety campaign for England, Patient Safety First, urges clinical teams to be the first to take the implementation of the checklist forward. Patient Safety First is a voluntary initiative that supports the use of the Checklist.

The Campaign has been created to change the culture within the NHS; to one that puts the safety of patients as the highest priority. No avoidable death or avoidable harm is acceptable. The Campaign is helping Trusts implement the checklist, and has been providing support since Patient Safety First went live on the 15th September 2008.

The goal of the Surgical Safety Checklist] is to reduce the number of patient deaths and complications resulting from surgical procedures. The Checklist was shown to improve compliance with standards and decrease complications from surgery in eight pilot hospitals worldwide, where it was evaluated, with results showing that surgical deaths and complications reduced by one third when the checklist was used.

As such it was included in one of the five interventions promoted by the Campaign: Reducing Perioperative Harm. Trusts signed-up to the Campaign can therefore take advantage of the support and resources available including the forthcoming Perioperative Intervention WebEx Series (interactive online seminars) via the website, www.patientsafetyfirst.nhs.uk, whether or not they have pledged to put the Perioperative intervention into practice as a whole.

Jane Reid, President-elect of the International Federation of Perioperative Nurses (IFPN) and the Campaign lead on Reducing Perioperative Harm, was temporary nurse advisor to WHO during the development of the Surgery Saves Lives Challenge. She explains:
“The Campaign Team recognises that the issue of an Alert by the NPSA, with explicit statements of requirement and time frames for compliance, will inevitably alter the attention and priority given to the Surgical Checklist by the NHS. Requirements are inevitable in the face of such compelling evidence; the checklist can reduce harm. Some signed-up Trusts may not have previously prioritised the Reducing Perioperative Harm intervention over other areas for attention, so we invite and encourage them to take advantage of the resources available from the Patient Safety First Campaign.”

The Patient Safety First Campaign is a voluntary Campaign that encourages the spread of learning known to improve patient safety, primarily in the acute setting. 84% of acute Trusts have signed up to date. For more information visit www.patientsafetyfirst.nhs.uk.

For interviews with Jane Reid or for further information, contact:

Lori Trott
Director of Communications & Campaign Development
E, info@patientsafetyfirst.nhs.uk
M, 07500 809 576

Catherine Chapman
Press Relations
E, catherine@pr4.com
T, 0207 637 1237
M, 07872 921 59

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has improved compliance with standards and decreased complications from surgery in eight pilot hospitals where it was evaluated.

WHO Safe Surgery Checklist – pilot study findings:
Eight pilot sites (Seattle, USA; Toronto, Canada; London, UK; Ifakara, Tanzania; Amman, Jordan; New Delhi, India; Manila, Philippines; and Auckland, New Zealand) used the checklist between October 2007 and September 2008.

Data were collected from 7,688 patients, 3,733 before implementation of the checklist and 3,955 after the checklist was introduced.

The rate of major complication in the pilot study operating rooms fell from 11% in the baseline period to 7% after introduction of the checklist, a reduction of more than one third.
Patient deaths following surgical operations fell by more than 40% (from 1.5% to 0.8%) with introduction of the checklist.

Similar reductions in complications were seen in both the high income and lower income sites in the study, with rates falling from 10.3% to 7.1% and 11.7% to 6.8% respectively.

For more information see www.nejm.org

The Patient Safety First Campaign has been created to change the culture within the NHS; to one that puts the safety of patients as the highest priority. No avoidable death or avoidable harm is acceptable.

The Campaign is not Government-led.
It is supported by the National Patient Safety Agency, the NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement and the Health Foundation and is delivered ‘by the service for the service’.

It promotes five key methods known to make a positive impact, in the first instance:
• Leadership for safety – getting Boards on board with patient safety with the aim of demonstrating it is the highest priority
AIM: Ensure a leadership culture at Board level that promotes quality and patient safety and provides an environment where continuous improvement in harm reduction becomes routine throughout the organisation
• Care of deteriorating patients in acute care
AIM: Reduce in-hospital cardiac arrest and mortality rate through earlier recognition and treatment of the deteriorating patient
• Critical care bundles (central lines, ventilator care)
AIM: Improve the care of patients receiving critical care through the reliable application of care bundles
• Perioperative care, including prevention of surgical site infection and World Health Organisation’s Safe Surgery Checklist
AIM: Improve care for adult patients undergoing elective surgical procedures in the hospital setting
• Reduction of harm from high-risk medications (this includes anticoagulants, narcotics, insulin & sedatives)
AIM: To prevent harm from high-risk medications.

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