Patient safety

Safe Surgery Saves Lives

The Second Global Patient Safety Challenge

Picture of the checklist

Access the 2009 edition checklist in your language:

The goal of the Safe Surgery Saves Lives Challenge is to improve the safety of surgical care around the world by ensuring adherence to proven standards of care in all countries. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist (above) has improved compliance with standards and decreased complications from surgery in eight pilot hospitals where is was evaluated.

New scientific evidence supports WHO findings: a surgical safety checklist could save hundreds of thousands of lives

At least half a million deaths per year would be preventable with effective implementation of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist worldwide. These results, obtained in the World Health Organization's 2007-2008 pilot study of its Surgical Safety Checklist have now been confirmed by new studies: the use of checklists significantly reduces surgical morbidity and mortality.

2009 editions of Checklist resources

New versions of the checklist, implementation manual, and guidelines were released in September 2009. While the content of the 19 checklist items remains unchanged, the wording of each has been modified to improve the checklist’s usability. Our implementation manual has been revised to match the checklist, but no other content has been added, and our guidelines have been revised to include the results from the New England Journal of Medicine study. For these resources and many more, please visit our tools and resources page.