Intended for healthcare professionals


Safety standards for invasive procedures

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 29 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1121
  1. Nick Sevdalis, professor of implementation science and patient safety1,
  2. Sonal Arora, clinical lecturer in surgery2
  1. 1Centre for Implementation Science, Health Service and Population Research Department, King’s College London, London SE5 8AF, UK
  2. 2Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: N Sevdalis, nick.sevdalis{at}

Beware the implementation gap

NHS England has recently published a set of recommendations designed to make care safer for patients having invasive procedures.1 They depend in part on national and local learning from analyses of near misses, serious incidents, and “never events” and are presented as an overarching framework. NHS organisations are encouraged to work with staff and patients to develop and maintain their own standardised procedures and develop methods to evaluate their compliance with them.

These standards add to our expansive armoury of interventions to improve patient safety. Spanning almost two decades, initial efforts to improve safety concentrated on establishing the epidemiology of errors, lapses, and patient safety incidents, as well as understanding their nature. We now know that, on average, 10% of patients admitted to hospital will experience at least one adverse event as a result of their care.2 Although most adverse events are minor, some …

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