Last updated 19/05/2014

SurgeryThe Commission is urging hospitals to use the Surgical Safety Checklist consistently. The checklist, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a commonsense approach to ensuring the correct surgical procedures are carried out on the correct patient.

When implemented properly it requires hospital staff to stop and think what they are doing and why. It involves checking the right people are present and that they all are in agreement about why they are operating. Thinking about what could go wrong is also important, for example checking for allergies to medicines is part of the checklist.

Going through the Surgical Safety Checklist is a simple process but one which could save lives. The WHO estimated in its 2007-2008 pilot study of the checklist that worldwide implementation would prevent at least half a million deaths per year; new studies have now confirmed these results.

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