Professor Chris Baggoley, Chief Executive, Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, has sent in the following comment re the recent post on whether Australian hospitals should be implementing the WHO surgical safety checklist to reduce deaths and complications associated with surgery:
“The Commission is very keen to work with (and has spoken to) the College of Surgeons and the College of Anaesthetists in the implementation of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist in Australia.
The Commission notes that Prof Bruce Barraclough of RACS and Dr Alan Merry of ANZCA, both eminent leaders in their respective colleges, were members of the Steering Committee overseeing this important research which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January this year.
With the Commission working in harmony with the clinicians, the prospect of a successful widespread implementation of this initiative is significantly enhanced.
I note that the death rate quoted in the paper was 1.5%. No Australian hospital was in the eight that took part worldwide – the closest to us was in Auckland – so I cannot be confident that this reflects the underlying surgical death rate in this country (nor in Auckland). I would be very surprised if it was anywhere near that level.
I do note the advice I have already received that most elements of the checklist are already routine practice in operating theatres in Australia and that countries can tailor these elements, including adding to them, to fit the requirements of their patients.”
PS from MS: Seems like there might be an interesting study sometime down the track – looking at how widely the checklist, or similar, is being used and with what effect. And, if it’s not being used, why not…