RJAH prepares for new 5 Steps to Safer Surgery process

Release Date: 19/10/2018

RJAH prepares for new 5 Steps to Safer Surgery process

Consultant surgeons, anaesthetists, operating department practitioners, nurses and radiology staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital all got together recently to discuss the vision for the new World Health Organisation (WHO) 5 Steps to Safer Surgery.

The 5 Steps to Safer Surgery has been widely misunderstood across the NHS to be the completion of a tick-box checklist however, in reality, it’s intended to be a process which concludes in the avoidance of a mistake during surgery to the patient.

Leighann Sharp, Matron, said: “The new format for the 5 Steps process will restore professional independence, which, in turn will promote individual responsibility and accountability.

“The old format was a checklist with a series of tick-boxes, however the new process will involve a sequence of prompts that require a question to be asked and an answer provided which is a far more robust process. This will then be quality assessed through observational audits.”

The away day was organised by Leighann and Consultant Anaesthetist Dr James Maybin who were joined by the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and Phil Higton from Terema, a training organisation who worked with one of our Consultant Anaesthetists, Dr Sophie Shapter, on a programme of Human Factors training for RJAH staff.

Leighann added: “Phil spent the day in Theatres observing our processes and told us that the current version of the 5 Steps is not being used reliably across the NHS as there are differences between stages within a single procedure.

“He also told us that steps of the process, such as sign-in, are carried out thoroughly however there’s no deliberate check, whilst other steps are seen to be as less important.”

“It was clear that everyone on the away day had patient safety at the forefront of their minds, but it wasn’t always clear how to best translate this into a meaningful and practical WHO process.

“The whole MDT who attended the day really embraced the conversations and debate, and by the end of the session, everyone was excited and keen to rollout the new process.

“The new process will be shared at the Multi-Disciplinary Clinical Audit Meeting in early November and staff will be trained to use the process ready for launch on 1 January 2019.”

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