WHO Surgical Safety Checklist


The aim of this Safe Clinical Practice (SCP) is to improve the safety of surgical care around the world by defining a core set of safety standards that can be applied in all countries and settings (WHO 2009a).

Each year an estimated 234 million major operations are performed around the world, corresponding to one operation for every 25 people alive. While surgical procedures are intended to save lives, unsafe surgical care can cause substantial harm. In industrialized countries major complications are reported to occur in 3-22% of inpatient surgical procedures, with permanent disability or death rates of approximately 0.4-0.8% (WHO 2009a). According to a systematic review, several studies report that approximately 50% of surgical adverse events can be considered preventable (Borchard et al 2012).
For more information have a look at the following links:

Innovator of the SCP and country of origin
Short description of the SCP and information on implementation
Stepwise approach to implementation
Information on needed resources
Summary of evidence for effectiveness
Specific Tools
PDF version of the main information on the SCP WHO Surgical Safety Checklist


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