A new clinical audit tool designed to transform how risk management strategies are identified and implemented within the operating theatre environment has been launched.

The Association for Perioperative Practice (AfPP), has launched the AfPP Perioperative Audit Tool; 2019 Edition, a robust audit tool that will assist both private sector and NHS theatre practitioners in creating a safer perioperative environment.

The tool comprises peer-reviewed standards and recommendations for safe perioperative practice and forms a ‘gold standard’ framework for operating theatre departments to examine service performance and identify potential improvements in patient care.

As the UK’s leading membership organisation for operating theatre practitioners who put patient safety at the heart of all they do, AfPP created the tool for the theatre practitioners to review their current policies and processes to invest in the safety of their patients.

Dawn Stott, CEO of the association said: “There is a strong need for perioperative audits to include an independent assessment of practices that formally declares organisations have met/exceeded specified criteria pertaining to patient safety.

“Audits must have meaning. If it is just a case of ticking boxes to achieve 100% compliance, then it is not an audit, it is a tick box exercise.

“There needs to be structure around understanding what you are auditing and why. Digging down underneath the surface during any audit is essential to ensure you fully understand how things are being done.”

Currently, the standard audit carried out in hospitals by CQC, ensures that departments are doing what is required of them to be compliant and only a small part of the assessment focuses on the theatre environment.

The AfPP audit tool will provide the opportunity for theatre departments to carry out a specific perioperative audit and take steps towards reducing clinical error, attaining quality assurance and improving staff wellbeing.

Dawn added: “Our audit tool provides the opportunity for departments to self-audit elements of the perioperative process, on top of the standard CQC assessments that take place. They also have the option to request a member of AfPP to come in and perform the audit, resulting in AfPP accreditation for safe practice.”

For over 50 years, AfPP have worked with professional bodies such as the Department of Health UK, to enhance skills and knowledge within operating departments, sterile services departments and associated areas.

The tool adds to the collection of peer-reviewed perioperative resources available and is a revised version of AfPP Perioperative Audit Tool, Edition one.

Dawn commented further: “Our mission as an association, is to ensure that current standards and guidance are up to date and encompass the changing environment in which perioperative practitioners work.

“In line with our mission and with patient safety in mind, we reviewed our existing audit tool and created a revised edition.”

The AfPP Perioperative Audit Tool; 2019 Edition, will showcase at the association’s annual residential conference, held at York University between 8 and 11 August 2019, in front of hundreds of perioperative professionals.