Surgical Safety Training of World Health Organization Initiatives

Am J Med Qual. 2014 Jul-Aug;29(4):350-6. doi: 10.1177/1062860613498811. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Undergraduate training in surgical safety is essential to maximize patient safety. This national review quantified undergraduate surgical safety training. Training of 2 international safety initiatives was quantified: (1) World Health Organization (WHO) "Guidelines for Safe Surgery" and (2) Department of Health (DoH) "Principles of the Productive Operating Theatre." Also, 13 additional safety skills were quantified. Data were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U tests. In all, 23 universities entered the study (71.9% response). Safety skills from WHO and DoH documents were formally taught in 4 UK medical schools (17.4%). Individual components of the documents were taught more frequently (47.6%). Half (50.9%) of the additional safety skills identified were taught. Surgical societies supplemented safety training, although the total amount of training provided was less than that in university curricula (P < .0001). Surgical safety training is inadequate in UK medical schools. To protect patients and maximize safety, a national undergraduate safety curriculum is recommended.

Keywords: safety; skills; surgery; training; undergraduate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Safety
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration
  • Schools, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / education*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • World Health Organization / organization & administration*
  • Young Adult