Patient safety in surgery –
the urgent need for reform

We have a great opportunity to improve patient safety in surgery, but as our report sets out, we must first address a number of challenges that exist.

By working together as a healthcare sector, we can identify new opportunities to improve the safety of patients – and innovative technology can play a vital role in this change. We hope our report will amplify this important conversation and support a safety-first approach to surgery.

Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, CEO, founder of Proximie and Consultant Plastic Surgeon.

Surgical teams across the UK are currently operating under immense pressure. 

Multi-faceted challenges such as workforce and capacity, are having a significant impact on patient safety and experience.

    In 2021/2022 there were 407 Never Events – more than one a day

    426 people sadly died in 2021/2022 as result of a patient safety incident in treatment or a procedure

    There has been a 30% increase in the number of safety incidents per surgery since 2015

    We can expect >1 million patient safety incidents and > 2,000 surgeries to result in people tragically dying over the next 5 years if the trajectory and standards do not change.

    The cost of poor patient safety in surgery to the UK economy is around £5.6bn a year

    We asked over 1500 people who have had surgery in the last 5 years about their experience

    • 76% of patients that responded to the survey had safety concerns during the surgery process
    • When asked about safety concerns 21% of respondents said they were so worried before surgery that they were reduced to tears
    • 18% said their worries stopped them from sleeping and 11% saying that they were so worried about their safety that they became ill
    • 15% of patients with safety concerns received inconsistent information from the medical professionals they spoke to
    • 14% of patients with safety concerns said these worries were caused by an old fashioned, messy, rundown or dirty surgical department
    • Almost 50% of people surveyed would have wanted to have their operation recorded and 39% said it would make them feel safer 

    Roundtable discussion –

    How can we improve patient safety in surgery?

    Proximie brought together NHS leaders, patient advocates, and leading surgeons to a roundtable discussion to discuss how we address the challenges and change the trajectory of patient safety in surgery. Seven key recommendations were developed that are in the white paper; Patient Safety in Surgery – the urgent need for reform.

    Report contributors:

    • Professor Peter Brennan

      Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
    • Professor Sir Martin Elliot

      Co-medical Director at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Professor of Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at University College London
    • Helen Hughes

      Chief Executive, Patient Safety Learning
    • Tanya Claridge

      Acting Group Director of Clinical Governance, Group Patient Safety Specialist, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
    • Dr Nadine Hachach-Haram

      CEO and founder of Proximie and Consultant Plastic Surgeon.

    Find out possible efficiency savings in your Hospital

    Proximie can help to unlock many benefits that not only improve patient safety, increase training, and enhance productivity – but also help to unlock efficiencies in your Hospital.

    Use the calculator tool to find out a potential saving in your Hospital.[1]

    1. The calculations are based on national averages and aim to provide an indication of potential savings only. A number of assumptions were made in these calculations including the average number of harmful events per theatre per year, the average number of cases per theatre per year, average number of training hours delivered by consultants, and financial costs associated with them.

    Book a demo to find out more about how Proximie could benefit you and your organisation.