RCSI launches updated audit tool for safe surgery

  • Surgical
  • General news

The Audit Tool for Safe Surgery, which is designed to identify opportunities for quality improvement, has been updated by the National Clinical Programmes in Surgery and Anaesthesia.

This tool supports the Policy and Procedure for Safe Surgery, which was updated and published in September 2022. The audit tool allows for both retrospective and observational audits across all five stages of safe surgery. As data is entered, the tool automatically carries out the analysis and generates the results graphically.  

It is hoped that the simplicity of this tool will encourage more audits to be undertaken so that issues can be readily identified and opportunities to make quality improvements to improve surgical care are identified.   

The audit tool is also designed to capture multiple audits over the year so that the impact of improvements can be easily seen. 

Welcoming the launch of the Audit Tool for Safe Surgery, Professor Deborah McNamara, Co-Lead of the National Clinical Programme in Surgery and Vice President at RCSI said: “All operating theatre team members work to ensure that patients in Ireland who undergo surgery have the safest possible care. The introduction of the Audit Tool for Safe Surgery makes it easier for staff to measure their local implementation of proven safety measures and to identify any areas that might require improvement.  

“The audit tool minimises the effort involved in collecting audit data and automatically generates graphics that can be used to share results with the whole theatre team. It will be invaluable, not only for operating theatre managers, but also for surgical and nursing staff interested in performing an audit to support their training or continuous professional development portfolios.”  

Patient Safety 

The National Policy and Procedure for Safe Surgery endorses the principles of the World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist and the HSE’s Patient Safety Strategy to ensure that every patient undergoing a surgical procedure has the safest possible care.  

The policy and procedure, based on best practice and evidence, introduces key safety steps that should be incorporated into each operating theatre department to support the development of a safety culture and to improve communication among operating department teams. It applies to every patient undergoing surgery in the Irish hospital setting and to all healthcare staff involved in the surgical patient pathway.  

The policy includes five stages for safe surgery, including team briefing and debriefing, to accompany sign in, time out and sign out. 

The National Clinical Programmes in Surgery and Anaesthesia continue to work, collaborate and develop initiatives with surgery and anaesthesia colleagues to promote safe surgical practice. The Safe Surgery Audit Tool is available to view on the HSE website.