Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head Head to Head

Is WHO’s surgical safety checklist being hyped?

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 05 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4700

Rapid Response:

Re: Is WHO’s surgical safety checklist being hyped?

Dear Sir/Madam
The WHO surgical list has at least changed team behaviour in the UK NHS hospitals and empowered the team members to speak. But a significant risk of information governance failure has cropped up because of the change in culture in the way we do the check list.
In the past individual patients were discussed before the start of the procedure and it was easy to do the WHO Checklist as clinical discussions could be done while referring to the anaesthetic charts and patient notes. But there has been a gradual shift in almost most places to discuss about all the patients for that session. This has brought a cultural change again amongst the anaesthetists who still rely on a paper based system and rushing from one of the hospital to other end they are scribbling patient related information on their theatre list so that multiple patients can be discussed at the WHO. Although we all act responsibly but it is only time when a list with information about all the patients is misplaced or finds its way in the hands of wrong person.
Keeping this in mind, we may find that doing a WHO for individual patient rather than all the patients,minimises the risk faced by the nhs trusts to a potential information governance failure.
Yours Sincerely
Dr B Saha

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 August 2019
bhaskar saha
consultant Anaesthetist
Anaesthetic Department Royal Oldham Hospital OL1 2JH