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Posted 18 Aug 2014 in Surgery

A survey of theatre teams at Waitemata District Health Board (DHB) has found most staff appreciate the importance of the surgical safety checklist.

Of the 62 theatre staff who completed the survey, 67 percent thought the checklist was very necessary and 24 percent thought it was necessary. No-one considered it unnecessary.

The survey was one of 11 carried out by DHBs around the country to investigate how well theatre teams were using the checklist.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission asked DHBs to conduct the survey as part of the perioperative harm focus of Open for better care, the national patient safety campaign. In the Northern Region, Open is partnered with the First, Do No Harm patient safety campaign.

Waitemata’s survey also asked how effective the checklist process was. Nine percent considered it highly effective, 69 percent felt it was effective and 13 percent considered it not effective.

When respondents were asked to comment on their responses to that question, some said the checklist worked less well when not all medical staff were engaged with it, or that the checklist would be would be more effective when “the full team was available and listening”.

Twenty-three percent considered the team briefing carried out at the beginning of the surgical list very important, while 22 percent considered it important.

Liz Hollier, unit manager of theatre services for North Shore Hospital and Waitakere Hospital, said the survey showed a widespread recognition of the value of the checklist, even though the level of buy-in varied.

“The survey made it clear that people do consider the surgical safety checklist an important initiative, which is a great starting point,” she says.

Waitemata DHBs focus for August is active communication within the surgical team as part of the reducing perioperative harm campaign.

The DHB may carry out the survey again in a year’s time to chart its progress.

A national overview of survey results from around the country is available by clicking the link below.

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