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Auckland City Hospital Participates In Global Safe Surgery Study

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Auckland City Hospital Participates In Global Safe Surgery Study

A year long World Health Organization (WHO) pilot study carried out in eight hospitals around the world including Auckland City Hospital, has proven conclusively that the use of a simple surgical checklist can significantly reduce the number of deaths and complications following surgery.

Internationally, findings of the study showed that the rate of major complications fell from 11% in the baseline period to 7% after the introduction of the checklist. At the same time, inpatient deaths following an operation fell by more than 40%.

In New Zealand, the majority of patients who were part of the study were general surgical and orthopaedic. Findings revealed that there was a 3.8% decrease in the rate of major complications during surgery after introduction of the checklist, and no change in the number of inpatient deaths.

Speaking about the study, Professor Alan Merry, Specialist Anaesthetist at Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) and Head of Department of Anaesthesiology at Auckland University said, "We were honoured that Auckland City Hospital was chosen to be one of eight global pilot sites to trial the WHO safe surgery checklist. We are dedicated to improving the quality of our patient care and this study was an opportunity to be part of a collective group of hospitals taking part and sharing information in a trial that strives to do just that."

"The checklist is simple and straight-forward, requiring just a few minutes to complete at three critical points during operative care - before anaesthesia is administered, before skin incision and before the patient leaves the operating room", explains Prof. Alan Merry.

"These simple steps are intended to ensure the safe delivery of anaesthesia, appropriate prophylaxis against infection, effective teamwork by the operating room staff and other essential practices in perioperative care."

The study was carried out in hospitals in both high and lower income settingsin Ifakara (Tanzania), Manila (Philippines), New Delhi (India), Amman (Jordan), Seattle (United States of America), Toronto (Canada), London (United Kingdom) and Auckland (New Zealand). The reductions in complications proved to be of equal magnitude in high and lower income sites in the study.

Launched throughout the world in June last year, the checklist programme is led by renowned surgeon Professor Atul Gawande at Harvard School of Public Health. The pilot study began in October 2007.

More information on the WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative can be found at

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