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Theatre nurses handed new safety check-list

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A new safety check-list for surgical teams was launched last week by the World Health Organization.

Several studies have shown that in industrial countries major complications occur in 3% to 16% of inpatient surgical procedures, and permanent disability or death rates are about 0.4% to 0.8%, according to the WHO.

The check-list, which is being backed by the National Patient Safety Agency and junior health minister Lord Ara Darzi, was drawn up using evidence from eight pilot sites, including one based at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

Use of the checklist in pilot sites has increased the rate of adherence to receive proven standards of surgical care from 36% to 68% and in some hospitals to almost 100%. Final results on the impact of the checklist are expected in the next few months.

Jane Reid, president of the Association for Perioperative Practice, welcomed the initiative. ‘Our membership represents all those working in operating theatres and so we particularly welcome the emphasis on encouraging a culture of safety embracing the whole surgical team,’ she said.

The check-list and more information on it are available at www.who.int

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