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Posted 11 Mar 2016 in Surgery

Clinical leadership continues to be crucial to the success of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Safe Surgery NZ programme. In particular, the surgical teamwork and communication intervention, a core component of the programme.

Strong leadership is provided by the Commission’s expert advisory group chair and medical clinical lead Prof Ian Civil, the nursing clinical lead Miranda Pope and, most critically, the safe surgery project teams in each district health board (DHBs).

Prof Ian Civil has been supporting the programme in a number of ways. He has visited DHB grand rounds and met with surgical governance groups and teams. Ian presented alongside Professor Clifford Ko, a renowned surgical quality improvement expert from the United States, in a series of workshops in 2015. He consistently champions the case for change and provides evidence to support the proposed teamwork and communication interventions. Ian also works closely with the University of Auckland, researching local initiatives and developing tools such as briefing, surgical safety checklist and debriefing training videos.

Miranda Pope has been working alongside DHB project teams. She provides advice, scenarios from other DHBs and supports connections with neighbouring private surgical hospitals. Miranda is committed to including private surgical hospitals at each programme training session. She is a strong example of nurses leading quality improvement in operating theatres throughout the country.

Local project teams have championed and continue to lead the programme in operating rooms across New Zealand. The teams have represented the multidisciplinary function of New Zealand surgical teams including surgeons, anaesthetists, anaesthetic technicians and theatre nurses. These clinicians are supported by staff in management, quality and education roles. There are surgeons championing the Safe Surgery NZ programme in Bay of Plenty, Southern and Capital & Coast DHBs; anaesthetists leading in Nelson Marlborough, Waikato and South Canterbury DHBs; and nurses leading in too many DHBs to name.