Patient Safety in Anaesthesia

Anaesthesia is a high-risk specialty and Anaesthetists have been preoccupied with patient safety long before recent developments focusing on safety in medical practice.

Practice routines, protocols and equipment design have been incorporated into the fabric of anaesthesia for some five decades. The Anaesthetic curriculum emphasises the importance of safe practice for all trainees.

Wessex Anaesthetic trainees are expected to engage in patient safety at each level of training.


There are a number of valuable sources of information for all trainees;

  1. The RCoA’s Safe Anaesthesia Liaison Group
  2. Association of Anaesthetists.

Patient safety training

Patient safety training days are held bi-annually in Health Education Wessex. All core trainees are expected to attend. The patient safety training day covers:

  • Error and leadership
  • Human factors
  • Communication
  • The piper alpha disaster
  • Leadership and professionalism
  • Risk reviews
  • Speciality specific project planning and design.

The days are led by the training leads and the patient safety champions within Wessex. Every year all trainees have the opportunity to present a patient safety project at the regional conference.

Training levels

The level of patient safety training depends on where you are in your training.

Core Training

CT1 trainees are expected to attend the novice simulator day and the Health Education Wessex Patient Safety Day.

CT2 trainees should participate in a patient safety audit, project, skills drills, presenting a case at the departmental Morbidity and Mortality meeting, or a project the relates to the safety aspects involved in the primary exam.

Intermediate Level Training

ST3/ST4 trainees should attend a Simulator Day in Wessex, complete a patient safety project, life support courses or for example, be involved in guidelines for the preoperative management of high risk patients.

Higher Level Training

For ST5/ST6/ST7 trainees, it is anticipated that during these latter years trainees may lead on patient safety projects. Human factors, risk management, working in teams and critical incident reporting are all excellent areas to explore.

They may instruct on a life support course.

Attendance at a risk group or medicine and equipment safety meeting would be a good example.


Each year patient safety involvement will be assessed at the trainees annual review of competency and progression of training.


The Regional Training Lead is Dr Jack Davies. Jack can be contacted via