Patient safety

Safe Surgery Saves Lives European Workshop - 15 January 2009

15 January 2009
London, UK

Packed house applauds new checklist

Clinicians from across Europe and the United Kingdom confirmed their support and willingness to endorse the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist at a packed workshop at the British Library in London.

Led by Dr Atul Gawande, head of the WHO Safe Surgery initiative, the workshop focused on how the checklist can be implemented in operating rooms across the WHO European Region.

Sir Liam Donaldson, Chair of the World Alliance for Patient Safety and Chief Medical Officer for England, opened the workshop by explaining how patient safety has gained momentum in the last five years since the World Alliance for Patient Safety was established.

"The first Global Patient Safety Challenge emphasized the importance of infection control and how we can save lives by reducing health care-associated infection. The second Challenge targets surgical procedures."

"The Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative was launched in 2007 with hundreds of hospitals throughout the world having pledged support since then."

Dr Nata Menabde, Deputy Regional Director for the WHO Regional Office for Europe said "Europe has one of the most active patient safety communities, with strong networks within countries, and many strong partnerships between patients and their ministries of health. 116 professional organizations from the European region have already endorsed the use of the Surgical Safety Checklist, of which 17 are from the UK".

"The development of the Surgical Safety checklist is an example of the World Health Organization working at its best. It needs dedicated individual clinicians to be pioneers in their own organizations, and the commitment of whole clinical teams."

Keynote speaker, Dr Atul Gawande, gave a comprehensive overview of the checklist study and the work done to date. He explained how clinicians at the eight pilot sites in Ifakara (Tanzania), Manila (Philippines), Auckland (New Zealand), London (United Kingdom), Seattle (United States), Toronto (Canada), New Delhi (India) and Amman (Jordan) had for the past year worked to implement the checklist.

"The results are startling. The findings have implications beyond surgery, suggesting that checklists could increase the safety and reliability of care in numerous medical fields. Checklists must be short, extremely simple and carefully tested in the real world."