The NHS has published a new set of guidelines on post-surgical safety procedures to improve patient care.
The National Safety Standards for Invasive Procedures (NatSSIPs) are intended to reduce patient safety incidents relating to invasive procedures in which surgical Never Events could occur.
Surgical Never Events are serious and preventable incidents, which should not occur if medics follow all the standard procedures.
The new standards set out broad principles of safe practice – and advise healthcare professionals on how to implement best practice, including a series of standardised safety checks, as well as education and training.
The standards also support NHS providers to work with staff to develop and maintain their own more detailed local standards – as well as encouraging the sharing of best practice between organisations.
NHS England Director of Patient Safety, Dr Mike Durkin, said:
“This is the first time that national safety standards have been set and endorsed by all relevant professional bodies – these include the royal colleges, the Care Quality Commission, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the General Medical Council, Monitor, the Trust Development Agency, and Health Education England.
“The engagement and support of these organisations provides the leadership to ensure the standards will be wholeheartedly embraced across the NHS.
“Providers will be required to embed these NatSSIPs into their own local safety standards, to support staff in providing the very best care and treatment for their patients.”
President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Clare Marx, added:
“The Royal College of Surgeons fully endorses these standards. They highlight the importance of learning from Never Events – and complement other recent work around the need for clarity on the definition of a Never Event.
“We need to ensure that an understanding of causes and impact of Never Events is an integral part of the training for all medical and non-medical staff involved in caring for patients undergoing invasive procedures.”
The NatSSIPs have been developed by a multidisciplinary group of clinical practitioners, professional leaders, human factors experts and patient representatives, with support from NHS England.
They build on the existing World Health Organization Surgical Checklist – as well as promoting the effective performance of the Five Steps to Safer Surgery guidance.
The standards follow the Surgical Never Events Taskforce Report published by NHS England in 2014, which made a number of recommendations on how to reduce Never Events in operating theatres – and before and after surgery.
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