The Scan4Safety initiative for operating theatres promotes safer clinical practice. Glen Hodgson argues there is a growing need to improve transparency, traceability and access to accurate data, particularly when it comes to surgical procedures.
In total, “over 10 million operations are performed each year in England”1 – a significant number when you consider how many Trusts there are in England. However, with this volume of procedures taking place every year, it is no easy feat keeping accurate and consistent records for every operation at every single Trust, let alone across the whole healthcare system.
This, alongside the number of surgical Never Events that occur annually, leaves operating procedures vulnerable to the wider problem of transparency, and the questionable accuracy of process recording and reporting. Never Events are “serious, largely preventable patient-safety incidents that should not occur if healthcare providers have implemented existing national guidance or safety recommendations”.2
Between 1 April 2019 and 29 February 2020, NHS Improvement reported a total of 435 Never Events that had occurred across the NHS in England. A staggering 81% of those were attributed to lapses in surgical safety, including 50% for wrong site surgeries, 21% for a retained foreign object post procedure, and 10% for wrong implants or prostheses.
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