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  • A case for the prevention and management of surgical fires in the UK: Expert Working Group Recommendations (September 2020)

    • UK
    • Reports and articles
    • Pre-existing
    • Original author
    • No
    • Surgical Fires Short-Life Working Group
    • 17/11/20
    • Health and care staff, Patient safety leads


    Today was the Parliamentary launch event of the Surgical Fires Expert Working Group’s report, 'A case for the prevention and management of surgical fires in the UK', which focuses on the prevention of surgical fires in the NHS

    This report contains important information on surgical fires and their prevention, to be submitted to the Centre for Perioperative Care (CPOC), in order to make the case for its inclusion on their agenda.

    In the perioperative setting, a fire may cause injury to both the patient and healthcare professionals. Injuries caused by a surgical fire most commonly occur on the head, face, neck and upper chest. The prevention of surgical fires, which can occur on or in a patient while in the operating theatre, is an urgent and serious patient safety issue in UK hospitals. 

    A Short Life Working Group (SLWG) for the prevention of surgical fires was established in May 2019, following an initial discussion in December 2018 on the issue of surgical fires in the UK. The group of experts from healthcare organisations and bodies across the UK convened four times in 2019 with the aim of compiling this document, in order to recommend surgical fires for a Never Event classification. The group conducted a literature review of best practice and evidence, in the UK and internationally, which informed the development of a number of considerations that could address the issue of surgical fires.

    This report contains information surrounding the scale of the problem of surgical fires in the UK, in addition to reported experiences of these incidences by both healthcare professionals and patients. It also includes prevention and management materials, and mandatory training that should be consistently delivered to hospital staff, and concludes with recommendations moving forward, in order to ensure the prevention of surgical fires in UK hospitals.


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