A national survey of obstetric anaesthetic handovers

Anaesthesia. 2006 Apr;61(4):376-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2006.04541.x.


The handover of patient information between shifts enables continuity of care and increases patient safety. We surveyed UK practice during handovers in obstetric anaesthesia. A questionnaire was sent to 239 lead consultant obstetric anaesthetists to record routine practice in their unit and individual opinion about handover procedures. Responses were received from 168 anaesthetists, a 70% response rate. Handover policies were available in 10% of units. Most (76%) responding units had an allocated time for handover. In most units (76%), the duration of handover was reported as being < 15 min but the actual duration and depth of any discussion involved were not specified. Handovers were rarely documented in writing (7%). Consultant anaesthetists were most likely to be present at the morning handover and few handovers were multidisciplinary. Four percent of units reported critical incidents following inadequate handovers in the past 12 months. We identify features in handover procedures that could be improved.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / standards*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Medical Records / standards*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom