Surgical safety

To improve the care for patients undergoing surgical procedures in the hospital setting


Effective teamwork and communication lies at the heart of providing safe surgical care.

Through the reliable implementation of the 5 step approach to safer surgery (Briefing, 3 stages of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and Debriefing) and by paying greater attention to crucial human factors in perioperative practice, significant improvements in outcomes for patients as well a better and more efficient working environment for staff can be realised.

Watch the video on the 5 steps to safer surgery.

How to take action for perioperative care


Patient Safety First asks teams implementing this intervention to focus on two distinct elements.

These are shown in the diagram above.

Our 'How to' guide for Reducing Harm in Perioperative Care' provides team members involved in implementing changes to reduce harm in perioperative care with an overview on actions to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) and how to improve teamwork and communication

The surgical safety checklist: a parent’s perspective

In January 2009 Zoe (aged four at the time) was diagnosed with Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB), a very rare childhood cancer. The tumour in her chest was enormous, filling the entire chest cavity and measuring around 27 cm wide. By July 2009 following nine rounds of chemotherapy the tumour had shrunk to half its original size and Zoe was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital to have the tumour removed by the surgical team there.

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Guy's and St Thomas'

With the help of Patient Safety First, over the last 12 months the trust has been working to implement the Surgical Safety Checklist to improve communication and teamwork and ensure patients are receiving the safest care possible. The result is a trust with operating theatres that are run by teams that communicate well, are efficient and effective and that always put patient safety first.

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Royal Bolton Hospital

As part of their commitment to improving patient safety Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has recently introduced the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.  Since learning that 66% of the incidents during surgery reported at the trust between April 08 and April 09 were avoidable the surgical team has worked tirelessly to implement the checklist to ensure a safer environment for patients.  It is now part of the operating standard within the trust and has been positively embraced by staff.

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Barts and the London NHS Trust


“We know that consistent and reliable use of the checklist for every patient undergoing a surgical procedure will improve patient safety in our hospitals.”  Mr Ajit Abraham, is the Consultant HPB Surgeon and Checklist Champion at Barts and The London NHS Trust.

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Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


The Patient Safety First Periop Care intervention promotes the use of a number of tools to improve safety including briefing and debriefing and the surgical safety checklist.  This has had the unanimous support of the orthopaedic operating staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.  

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Royal Brompton and Harefield

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust’s first organisational value is: “We believe our patients deserve the best possible specialist treatment for their heart and lung condition in a clean, safe place.”  The trust signed up to Patient Safety First in July 2008.  

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Periop Care network

Click on the map below to find out which Trusts in your region are implementing the Periop Care intervention. If your Trust is implementing the Periop Care intervention and is not listed here, please contact us.

Uk Map  London South Central North East Yorkshire and Humber East Midlands East of England South East West Midlands South West North West

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Click here to download our Human Factors 'How to' guide

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