The Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology

Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2010 Jul;27(7):592-7. doi: 10.1097/EJA.0b013e32833b1adf.


Anaesthesiology, which includes anaesthesia, perioperative care, intensive care medicine, pain therapy and emergency medicine, has always participated in systematic attempts to improve patient safety. Anaesthesiologists have a unique, cross-specialty opportunity to influence the safety and quality of patient care. Past achievements have allowed our specialty a perception that it has become safe, but there should be no room for complacency when there is more to be done. Increasingly older and sicker patients, more complex surgical interventions, more pressure on throughput, new drugs and devices and simple chance all pose hazards in the work of anaesthesiologists. In response to this increasingly difficult and complex working environment, the European Board of Anaesthesiology (EBA), in cooperation with the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA), has produced a blueprint for patient safety in anaesthesiology. This document, to be known as the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology, was endorsed by these two bodies together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA), and the European Patients' Federation (EPF) at the Euroanaesthesia meeting in Helsinki in June 2010. The Declaration represents a shared European view of that which is worthy, achievable, and needed to improve patient safety in anaesthesiology in 2010. The Declaration recommends practical steps that all anaesthesiologists who are not already using them can successfully include in their own clinical practice. In parallel, EBA and ESA have launched a joint patient safety task-force in order to put these recommendations into practice. It is planned to review this Declaration document regularly.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / adverse effects
  • Analgesia / mortality
  • Analgesia / standards*
  • Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia / mortality
  • Anesthesia / standards*
  • Anesthesiology / standards*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Helsinki Declaration*
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors